+Scott Watson

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Hear My Voice- Time To Take A Stand and Be Heard?

Many people I meet want to say something to their boss but daren't. The main reason why they choose not to speak up? Self Preservation! They don't want to 'rock the boat - not that there is a boat usually. The possibility of appearing to be awkward or perceived as a trouble-maker also score highly on the reasons for keeping quiet.

And there are times of course that we should keep quiet and say little if anything at all. It would be simply inappropriate to say something to intentionally inflict emotional harm on another person, even though some people take this as their norm rather than the exception. I guess that we have all encountered these people who prefer to attack, attack and attack again to impose their will on those around them.

The Superiority Complex

But there is a far more positive and human side to this too. Are you aware of Rosa Parks? Rosa, who died recently was the quiet lady who some may say actually started the human rights and equal rights movement in the USA. During the days when whites were perceived (by themselves of course) to be a superior race, Ms Parks was sat on a bus in her home town of Birmingham, Alabama. When instructed to vacate her seat so that a white person could use it, Ms Parks quietly declined to follow the instruction. She was promptly arrested, some reports stated that she was physically assaulted and she then became a 'criminal'. In short, Ms Parks didn't so much 'stand up' for her human rights, she actually 'sat down' for them. And a good thing she did too.

The Boss Doesn't Hold The Power

Many people believe that their boss, and then their bosses boss, hold the power within their organisation. The kind of organisation is not important, but people tend to comply with those in authority, whether they agree with them or not. But let's take a moment to reflect the real source of some major changes in the UK and globally. They weren't changes that were introduced by people in what is often called 'positions of power'. Or perhaps they were, as the people chose to use their personal power, their right to have a voice, their right to be heard to create something pretty special. Have a look at these.

Airlines globally introduce a NO SMOKING policy on flights following repeated requests from some passengers.

Gurkha soldiers
who retired to the UK win the right to remain in the UK following many years of battling with the British Government. How did this happen? An actress named Joanna Lumley, whose father was an officer in the Gurkha regiment spoke up for them. And they won!

MP's Expenses - A four year challenge to the Freedom of Information Act results in UK residents finding out that their elected member of parliament had been claiming expenses on everything from new, expensive furniture (not needed to help them undertake their role in Government) to a duck island in a moat. The lady's name escapes me for the moment.

Iranian Election - Nearly 2 million people take to the streets of Tehran to protest that they believe the supposedly democratic election has been rigged to keep the present, anti-West President in power. The last time 2 million people took to the streets of Tehran, the Shah was overthrown.

Iran National Football Team - 8 members of the national football team chose to wear green wristbands, and their team captain, a green armband to show support for the pro-democracy movement during their match with South Korea. Why didn't the other players wear the same? Well, democracy and the freedom to choose is a good thing isn't it? Remember that these guys will have to return home at some point and could face severe punishment for their actions. But, they took their message to the masses - to the world!

Remember that in your organisation, whatever kind it is. You do reserve the right to have a voice. You would benefit from considering deeply, how you could help people want to listen to what you want to say. This will potentially strengthen greatly the impact of your message and also authenticity. Always speak up with a positive intention of either eradicating a problem, enhancing something or helping someone. NEVER speak up just for the sake of being heard or to impose your authority or will on another human being. After all, if the law of reciprocity turns up - the same thing will come back to haunt you at some point.

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