The Power of the Pause Button – Part 2 of 3

Today’s blog post is the second in a three-part series called The Power of the Pause Button where SOS Leadership Partner Amber Fogarty explores the art of thinking before we speak and why this is particularly important for those who lead. To read the first post in this series, click here.

Last week talked about how important it is for a leader to use his/her pause button. We all know in our heads that we need to think before we speak, but sometimes the words are out of our mouths, and we desperately want to put them back in.

When do you need your pause button most?

Leadership is all about relationships, and we most need to push the pause button when we know that our words may damage the relationship. This is a reality for all leaders, at work, in our communities, and in the privacy of our own homes. Relationships matter. We depend on people, and people depend on us. Thus, we have to remain passionately obsessed with effective communication.

Over the last week, I’ve discussed this topic with a number of leaders, and the conversations have been fascinating. One of the most interesting responses made me think about how long we may need to press pause.

At times we push pause for a matter of seconds, collect our thoughts, and are ready to respond, rather than react. But sometimes that process lasts minutes, hours, even days, particularly when the stakes are high.

Think about a recent conflict you had at work or at home. Did you press your pause button so that you could make sure you chose your words intentionally and thoughtfully? Or did you react without choosing your words carefully and say things you later wish you could take back?

Let’s be honest…we’re not always successful in pushing the pause button when we need to, right? Hindsight is 20/20, and we can all look back on moments when we sincerely wish we would’ve kept our mouth shut!

So what do we do when in those moments? As leaders, what do we expect of ourselves? How do we handle these situations at work and at home? 

A vitally important characteristic for a leader is the ability to say “I’m sorry.” We need to be able to take a step back, assess the situation, and admit when we’re wrong and/or when we’ve behaved in a way that doesn’t align with the leadership we aspire to practice.

John Miller contends that, “Humility is the cornerstone of leadership.” I couldn’t agree more. My question for myself today is this: How will I practice humility today?

Come back next Wednesday to read the final post in this three-part series! Have a great day!

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