When to Step Up vs. Step Back  

by | Jan 18, 2024 | Leadership

Opinions: everyone has one! It’s true, everyone does, but when is the right time to share your opinion?   

I was recently in a training session with other leaders from Service Express. I was actively engaged and listening but intentionally not talking a lot, which is unlike me. I finally felt compelled to comment on something, and when I did, the facilitator thanked me for speaking up. I told them that I was all in and actively listening and explained that I didn’t want to dominate the session. I was there to learn and grow.   

The facilitator called it out and said that there are times when you need to step back. Especially as leaders, we need to allow time for others to talk and share their opinions. It doesn’t always come naturally. It’s an area I’ve had to work on; I have a lot of opinions, and I want to give them. As leaders, we need to learn when to step back and allow others to express themselves.   

On the flip side, there are some people who go into meetings and never say anything. I had a meeting today with Executives and VPs, and as I was level-setting with the group, I said, “As all of you know, when you’re in one of my meetings, I expect to hear from you.” When you are in one of my meetings, I expect you to be all in, engaged and contributing. I’ll try and call on people to make sure everyone is heard, but if I haven’t, I expect them to find their way into the conversation. It’s the way I lead my meetings.   

Personally, I don’t see a reason for someone to be in a meeting if they’re not going to say anything. I’ve set the expectation for everybody to step up. That’s not everyone’s natural demeanor, but as a leader, I will call on people to step up out of their comfort zones.   

Whether you’re leading or participating in a meeting, I encourage you to think about how you should play in that meeting. Should you step up or step back? Let me know your thoughts.   

Posts by Category

Sign up for Ron Alvesteffer's blog

* = required field

About Me

I am the President & CEO of Service Express, a National Best & Brightest Company to Work For. Service Express has averaged double digit growth every year since 2001.

We attribute our success to a unique corporate culture that we call The Service Express Way. I am a member of the Young President Organization and sit on the Board of the Spectrum Health Foundation.