Leaders Speak Last | 120 Seconds to Better Leadership

You often hear the expression that leaders eat last. I think it comes from the military. And what I also think can be true is that leaders should often speak last. Not under every circumstance—if there was an emergency, or a crisis, or a really serious situation where people are uncertain, a leader certainly needs to step in, and calm people down, and set a direction and handle things.

But, in most situations, when leaders are trying to be creative problem solvers, or strategic or visionary, it can really help if in those meetings where they’re trying to get the best out of their folks, if they just be quiet and ask a lot of questions and really mine for insights and opinions. 

Don’t Underestimate Your Authority

Once the leader states what they think the vision should be, once the leader decides what their creative decision should be, the rest of the group is going to quiet down and go, “Okay, Let’s build on that idea.” Because that leader carries so much authority. As leaders we often underestimate the authority that we carry, and how much that can shut people down.  

Sit Back, Talk Last

So my best advice is, if a decision does not have to be made right in that moment, if it’s not urgent, if you’ve got time to have dialogue with your team, sit back, talk last, ask questions, synthesize ideas. And just see how much more you’re going to get out of your teams.