Sometimes the noise around us is very loud. And as a result, we tend to yell. Some of us even scream aloud our thoughts or ideas, metaphorically or otherwise, to be heard. And unfortunately, this practice just makes all that other noise even louder. It doesn’t clear the air. It doesn’t help you stand out positively. The screamer isn’t automatically pushed to the front of the line or receive prime seats in the first row. The squeaky wheel doesn’t always get the oil. Usually the screamer begins to be ignored. Kind of like that annoying car alarm. Yes, the alarm goes and usually for a reason, but so many times – it’s a false alarm.
The other day, for instance, a Land Rover in the adjacent parking lot must have been jostled because when that alarm went off, all hell broke loose. The whoop-whoop was incredibly loud and the maddening flashing of lights did little to evoke concern for the vehicle. I, and several others, were merely annoyed by the sound.
The Squeaky Wheel
The darned squeaky wheel doesn’t always receive the blessing of the oil, sometimes it gets ignored or maybe we just won’t even use that old wagon anymore. I spent many former years singing with choirs. I have a strong alto voice but I always remember the words from a choir leader many years ago. “While singing with your section, if you can’t hear the other singers – you are singing too loud.” Very Good Advice.
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Sometimes, the sound of our own voice – though a voice of passion – tends to drown out all others. I remember a time, before I learned an important lesson of listening, when a team of which I was a part sat around a conference table and I only cared about what I had to say and felt that what I had to say was so much more important than what the other guy had said. It is easy to get caught up in the passion for a particular topic or practice or in your own self-proclaimed expertise. It is wiser and much more difficult to hold your tongue and pick your moments. Difficult? Yes. But incredibly empowering. \
Here is the most important lesson: the voice you hear, the one that inspires change and betterment, is probably not going to be your own.