Any questions?     Are we all on the same page?      Any objection?      All agreed?      Do we have consensus?

Perhaps you have been in a meeting that concluded with that question or something very similar. There were no questions. Everyone subtlety nods their head. No objections are registered. That is…until you get on to the elevator or back to the office.

“Can you believe we’re going to do that?”

“That is a dumb idea.”

Really now? Then why didn’t you say so in the meeting? You are not only hurting the organization but undermining the leader and your own leadership as well. Always bear in mind that the “general public” sees each person as the organization. If the idea flops or lacks credibility, it reflects on everyone, including you. Speaking up three weeks later or after the fact does not count. Speak up when the issue is placed on the table!

It does take courage to speak up. That is especially true if you have an opposing view or a different perspective. But you must remember that silence is interpreted as consent. You vote “yes” when you don’t speak up. You bear responsibility for the idea if you were part of the conversation. The scripture does speak to this issue in Ephesians 4:15 when Paul exhorts believers to “speak the truth in love.” That is great wisdom when taken in the context of all five words. It is not a loving act to be silent so as not to hurt feelings if the end result is a potentially greater harm that could have been prevented by speaking up in the first place. On the other hand it is not fruitful to speak the truth if it is not done in a spirit of “love.” You can critique someone without criticizing them. The key is to speak the truth in love. The motive of “criticism” is often to tear someone down. The motive of a “critique” is to build someone up by looking after their best interest (even if it is painful to say or hear).

Let me leave you with one more thought. The way you say something is as important when “critiquing” as what you say. What would set best with you if you were leading and someone wanted to disagree?

“I disagree with you.”   OR  “Can I share another way to look at this issue.”

“Everybody is going to hate this.”   OR  “Could we possibly do some research before pulling the trigger to determine the implications.”

[SILENCE]    OR  “I hesitate to take an opposing view but I want to make sure we examine all angles so that your plan will work.”

Speak Up! And when you do….speak the truth IN LOVE!