My colleagues have all created names for their blogs (Balaji’s Food for Thought, Dave Baker’s Shift in Thinking and Dave Lazarenko’s Working Wisdom). I am sure they came up with them very quickly. I, on the other hand, like to think on things for a while. During my morning run, I think through a problem or opportunity, or come up with an idea. On one such run, I came up with my title: Think to Speak. Why?
There are different types of people; none is better than another.
• People who speak to think like working through their thoughts out loud.
• People who think to speak need time to process their thoughts internally before speaking.
• There are front of the room leaders who have a high intensity of presence when they walk into a room.
• Back of the room leaders often don’t say much, but when they do speak, people listen — as it is usually well thought out.
I am a think to speak back of the room leader. That is who I am and I am OK with it. But not everyone is.
I enjoy being a back of the room leader; I accept not needing to command an environment when I enter it. I am also OK to think before I need to speak. Some people speak to think; I am not comfortable with that approach.
“Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise: and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” – Proverb
Why does this matter?
Understanding who you are helps you offset the shadow weaknesses of these types.
What are some of the shadow weakness I have?
• People who think to speak are looking for immediate engagement in the discussion. If I don’t respond immediately, they feel ignored or dismissed. What do I do? I need to acknowledge their thoughts, possibly give a quick initial reaction and ask for time to think about it.
• I can spend too much time thinking and not making a decision or stating what I stand for. In business today, I need to be prepared to be fast even though there is a chance I could be wrong.
• Sometimes I stay at the back of the room. I need to be aware when I need to step forward to the front of the room. Being a back of the room leader is no excuse for not stepping up and leading.
• My quietness can be misinterpreted as disapproval. I often tell people that I am a think to speak person; this helps avoid awkwardness in a conversation when I stare blankly at them, thinking.
Understanding who you are makes you intentional about your leadership.
Being intentional helps drive change in the people you lead, the organizations you run and in your personal life too. I like to think before I speak.