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How much and how often do you hold yourself back?

The best workplaces are where you feel you can be yourself, contribute your best, challenge and be challenged and feel like you are making a difference. You don’t feel you need to hold back.


How much and how often do you hold yourself back by:


  • Not having a go at something new?
  • Not giving feedback?
  • Not asking for feedback?
  • Not telling what’s really on your mind?
  • Not having the difficult conversations?
  • Not sharing what you know?
  • Not speaking up when you should?
  • Not asking questions when you should?
  • Saying yes when you don’t really agree?
  • Hiding parts of your uniqueness?
  • Worrying about what others think?
  • Worrying about whether you ‘fit’?
  • Worrying about ‘rocking the boat’?
  • Not doing what plays to your strengths and what is meaningful to you?


How much more would you be able to contribute if you didn’t have to hold back as much?


Now think about everyone you work with. How much and how often do they hold themselves back? What would you be able to achieve if they didn’t have to hold back as much - even if it's holding back just 5% less?


This may mean it will be a more challenging place to work, as disagreements and conflict are likely to arise when we don’t hold back. When these disagreements and conflict are harnessed to be productive, they become core ingredients for innovation, growth and evolution as individuals and organisations. It creates a more dynamic and creative environment. I wonder how many leaders are up for it? I still find it challenging, but I think I’m getting better!


In Creating the best workplace on earth: what employees really require to be their most productive, Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones point to the qualities below. They seem common sense but few companies exemplify all six.

  • You can be yourself.
  • You’re told what’s really going on.
  • Your strengths are magnified.
  • The company stands for something meaningful.
  • Your daily work is rewarding.
  • Stupid rules don’t exist.


As the world of work changes, we are called to adapt as well. We can all lead in this evolution by:

1. Holding back less, take a few risks.

2. Creating environments where others don’t need to hold back.

3. Building our capacity to work with the challenge that arises.


Who do you know that leads like this?


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