Face your fears: Here are 3 reasons why leaders should share their personal perspectives on issues
More than a decade ago, I started sending a “Friday Update” email to my team every week. My emails typically include HR-related reminders and updates about our immediate work. In addition, I generally include an inspirational reflection, and articles about industry news and educational topics. Over time, I started including some of my own blog posts in these emails as well. Sending weekly team updates has been a practice that I’ve continued while working in three very different organizations. I’ve probably only missed about five updates during that time period when I wasn’t away on vacation.
Why do I do this? I share these updates because without them, I would be missing out on a critical opportunity to provide my perspectives on the industry (healthcare) and profession (marketing/communication) we all work in. Failing to share perspectives is a trait I’ve seen among a surprisingly large number of leaders at the manager/director level and above.
3 reasons why sharing your perspective matters
It grounds you and sets a direction for your work. Thinking about the goals you want to achieve and how you will accomplish them is critically important. A few years ago, I developed some common questions I ask any time I meet with a business partner to discuss marketing needs. That framework can also be shared with your organization’s leadership and your business partners to ensure that you have common ground.
It provides a vision for how you want others to work. Good leaders model good behavior and part of that involves sharing information and offering your thoughts on what matters to you and why. People can’t follow you if they don’t know where you’re going.
It helps position you for future opportunities. There are thousands of people who probably have a very similar job title to yours. What makes you different? Writing an article, giving a presentation or just sharing your opinions are all ways that you can stand out from the crowd. Showing you understand your industry and having a perspective on where it’s going is extremely important.
2 reasons why some leaders don’t share perspectives
Time. “Sharing my thoughts takes too much time.” I understand that reaction, but you can begin slowly with a minimal investment of time. Find one interesting or relevant industry article a week and share it with a few sentences about why people should care about it. You can do that in well under 15 minutes. Build from there, but make sure you stay active. What does it say about a leader who hasn’t posted any thoughts on LinkedIn about their industry in the last year or longer?
Fear. “People will get mad at me.” “Nobody will care what I have to say.” You certainly could have people get mad at you for sharing an opinion, but I think if you stay away from politics on LinkedIn you are fine. On the second common reaction, I think people are way too hard on themselves. People are much more interested in what you have to say than you might think. Give it a try and see what happens, you might be pleasantly surprised.
A note on inspirational reflections
I believe strongly in the power of offering reflections, and I always include one in my weekly emails. In fact, reflections are often the topic I hear the most about. Here are two really good sources for reflections, and an example from #2:
Let confidence take over
Doubt and fear have ruled you for too long. Now is the time to let your confidence take over.
Confidence is no less real, no less reasonable than doubt. And confidence will take you to much better places.
You deserve more respect than you’ve been giving yourself. You deserve more challenge, and its accompanying achievement, than you’ve been allowing into your life.
Get yourself now in a frame of mind where you can do all the best things you’re capable of doing. Activate the confidence that’s always been there, and let it drive away every remnant of indecision.
Let confidence take over, then make absolutely certain to give that confidence its full due. With purpose, with persistence and enthusiasm, put your confidence into action.
Unleash the full power of your loving, creative potential. Let your confidence take over, and give to life today the best you can give.
— Ralph Marston