Your Voice in Community
Average Joe and his beautiful family had just moved to the area and started attending the neighborhood church. After a few Sundays, the family took steps to get more involved by joining some outreach gatherings and participating in a community group. Things were going well, with the family really starting to feel like relationships were being established.
Until a conversation occurred in the community group.
An opinion was shared with a response that Joe and his family had a different viewpoint on. It seemed like others had like minded views to that opinion based upon the verbal and physical queues. Joe kept silent on sharing his thoughts as it looked like it wasn’t up for debate. Later that evening, in a conversation with his wife, they debated on what was more important, community or convictions on their point of view.
To speak or not to speak
Have you ever been in this situation? Is it better to speak up to share a difference in a group or keep quiet so as not to create tension in the community you are part of? Are you towing the line for the Organization, or voicing an alternative that may be divergent from the management? Will that cost you a promotion, then next opportunity for impactful work, or a relationship break with your manager?
Will your voice bring forth change? Maybe your suggestions will empower others to share their voices. It could be that speaking up with transparency convicts others to share also. It may show that you believe in the safety or trust of the community or group.
Ways to find your voice
The challenge is to understand the impact your voice will have. Sometimes it is not a straightforward decision to speak up.
- The timing may not be right. It may shut down other points of view as you may have some authority which will influence others
- It may not be a totally safe place to speak. We are in these situations often and have to be discerning. Trusted people and environments will allow for constructive dialog.
- Your thoughts aren’t fully formed. It might be better to articulate that you don’t know what you believe based upon the discussion and need more time to formulate an opinion.
Finding your voice is really more of understanding.
- If you don’t share your voice, will the consensus of the the topic be labeled to something you don’t agree with?
- Your voice will create a distinction on group think vs. observations based upon your values.
- Like the conversation between Hamilton and Burr, what do you stand for?
- Use your voice to edify, not tear down.
- The impact of your voice is to build a different point of view with wisdom. If it is just spouting something to be heard, don’t be the fool saying whatever to be heard. We have enough politicians in the world.