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Have you ever noticed that some people work very hard to get into leadership roles within an organization, and when they get the big title, they change? When I say change, they go silent.

At one time, they were thoughtful, outgoing and outspoken. They used to fight hard for their teams and the people under their leadership. They would be willing to speak up about unfairness. They were champions of diversity, equity and inclusion for women, young professionals and people of color. Their passion and commitment made them stand out and it was one of the keys that helped them get to the top of the org chart.

Now, they feel comfortable to just sit there and smile. They have become a leader that is seen but no longer heard.

Unfortunately, I have seen many professionals who reach senior positions in organizations start to keep their mouths shut when it comes to tough issues. They feel if they speak out, they risk being branded angry or difficult, or worse. With labels like these, they risk losing their position or the influence they have gained. They say to themselves, “It’s better to have a silent seat at the table, than no seat at all.”

This is a poor leadership mindset. Having a seat at the table means nothing if you don’t use your position to make things better for those you lead.

Just being there and visible might provide encouragement to subordinate staff but being a leader that speaks up and takes action will make a difference in their day-to-day lives. Being a leader that is heard is how change starts to happen.

So if you ever attain a senior leadership position, you need to be a leader that speaks up on tough issues. You should be an advocate for the people that you lead and serve. Don’t ever think that because you have arrived, that you have arrived. You haven’t. Your team needs you to stand up for them.

Remember to stand up. Be heard. Don’t just be seen.


PS – Last week, I was a guest on an amazing podcast called b cause with Erin & Nicole. Episode 14: Presidential Leadership & Hip Hop with Anton Gunn. I talked more about leaders who get the big title and position. I would love to know what you think.

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