The Silent Type


I once read that we’re given one mouth and two ears and should use them in that proportion – listen twice as much as you speak.

My observation of leaders over the last 30 years, whether in associations or business, is that the great ones always seem to be the silent type. I don’t necessarily mean introverted or shy. I mean leaders who are deep thinkers and avid readers.

Great leaders don’t start with a strong opinion. Instead, they asked the great questions. I can recall one leader in particular who always started with a question like, “do you think our members would find this service valuable?” Then they would sit back and hear the opinions from all sides, conduct extra research and contemplate the results. They do not operate under the premise of “Ready, Fire, Aim” but instead, base their decisions on good information.

I’ve been to too many meetings where it seems to be a competition as too who can state all their opinions in the most forceful way, often without having the facts. I recall one of those meetings I attended and it finally took a silent type leader to ask a very basic question about the topic – the room became silent. No one had the answer but it was fundamental to making the right decision. The decision was put off until the answer to that question was discovered.

What has been your experience in dealing with leaders? Do you recall the silent types? Why type are you?

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