Friday, April 21, 2017

when a leader has nothing to say

 I have gone five weeks without posting a blog, something that has not happened in a long time.  I could blame it on being too busy, but that would seem to suggest that I was not busy when I was consistently writing this blog; I could blame it on being lazy, but that would seem to suggest that my character and demeanor has changed over time; I could blame it on too much travel, but I traveled as much (if not more) during the month of January and consistently produced a Friday Morning Blog during that stretch; or I could blame it on having nothing of importance to say...and that is what I would like to think about this morning.

There are times (I believe) where leaders have nothing to say...and perhaps during those times leaders should say nothing at all.  The need to constantly say something (even when nothing should be said) is a disease (dis-ease?) from which many (if not most) leaders suffer.  It is a curse of the job, and one that is often put on leaders by those who follow.  Those who teach or speak in public know the feeling...everyone is sitting there waiting for you to say something; and not just to say something, but something that will inspire and energize.  Leaders are expected to have all the right words to say, even when nothing needs to be (or should be) said.

Don't get me wrong...there have been plenty of things I have been thinking about over the past month that have to do with leadership, many of which have been said to friends, colleagues, and others I happen to meet from time to time.  It just has not felt like the right time to put those thoughts into a weekly blog, so I have chosen not to do so for the past five weeks.  Does that make me less of a leader?  Does that mean that my ideas are drying up?  Does that mean that I have less time to devote to sharing those ideas?  I do not know...the only thing I do know is that it felt appropriate to be quiet for five weeks...and sometimes that is what those in leadership roles need to do.

Here's a time you have a meeting of a group of people (and you are supposed to be in charge) just stand in the front of the room and not say anything.  Let someone else begin the conversation (without you inviting them to do so).  Those first few minutes will seem like an eternity (both for you and for those in the audience).  My guess is that someone will finally ask a question and, instead of you telling them what you are thinking about, you will get to answer the questions they are thinking about.   Sometimes it is okay to just have nothing to say.

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