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The Value of Silence for Leaders: Guest Article by Quarterly Report Member Rachel Li

The Value of Silence for Leaders

As a leader it can be tempting to just keep on talking. People listen to you in a way that feels good. They pick up on subtle nuance and follow up on what you say with many pertinent questions. The art though, is finding the value in thoughtful silence.

When to say nothing. When to hold a neutral expression. How to hold space for others. When to listen and consider. When to pause and retreat.

People need you for guidance and look to you to display tone, to accept things, question things, and reject things. But not necessarily at a terribly ferocious pace. Sometimes the pace needs to be more natural, rhythmic even. Sometimes marinating on ideas is critical for you.

An introspective leader has value as much as a bold one. And perhaps holding space for others and truly listening is bold. When times are uncertain the thoughtful and caring leader stands out. We have been drowning in such times this particular year. The global pandemic has forced change, innovation, creativity, and also more thoughtfulness about how we show up and support our teams.

Silence is a gift to yourself and to others. It gives space needed to boost creative thinking, more acceptance, and inclusion of diverse perspectives. Strong businesses thrive by learning to thoughtfully execute new plans and ideas at the right time. Let your pause be intentional.

How can you make this happen for you? How can you grow in this practice?


1. When you are tempted to speak or interrupt a colleague, try deepening and lengthening your breathing. Let it be deliberate and subtle.

2. Intentionally change your mood to curiosity and see what you might learn from another perspective.

3. Back off of a need to be right or seen by others in a certain way.

4. Stay in the moment, the experience, and the relationship with another.

Rachel is a Leadership Coach and Akashic Records Reader living in Portland, Oregon. She is also the author of the forthcoming meditative memoir God in Me. You can learn more about Rachel's work here.

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