It’s a dangerous thing to mistake speaking without thought for speaking the truth.Benoit Blan – Glass Onion
As I watched “Glass Onion,” the Netflix version of Agatha Christie’s Hercules Poirot, the protagonist Benoit Blanc, played by Daniel Craig, made one of the movie’s best lines. He said, “It is a dangerous thing to mistake speaking without thought for speaking the truth.”
We’ve all been there – say something at the moment that we later regret. But doing it without thinking can have more severe consequences than embarrassing ourselves. People often make careless comments without realizing the weight of their words. And in today’s society, with its 24-hour news cycles and social media platforms, those irresponsible remarks can quickly spiral out of control.
It is a leadership quality to think before you speak, as the dangers of speaking without thinking can be severe. It is crucial to be conscious of what we are saying and how our words may impact others. While there is sometimes no way to take back the comments we have already shared, self-awareness can help us recognize when it’s wiser to pause and reflect on what we are about to say rather than let impulsivity take control.
Leaders pause, think, reflect, and finally react. Or, in this case, speak.
How to avoid speaking without thinking
Speaking without thinking can be a difficult habit to break. Still, it is essential for anyone who wants to understand their surroundings, reflect on what they have heard, and react appropriately as a leader.
Understanding the current situation and putting yourself in other people’s shoes is essential to avoid this problem. Stephen Covey would say we are seeking first to understand. Not respond. It is also helpful to take time out whenever you feel overwhelmed with information or ideas racing through your mind – take a deep breath, inhale some fresh air outside if you can, and allow yourself to be in the moment for a few minutes before continuing the conversation. Most importantly, understand that taking moments of clarity can help you become an effective leader who communicates thoughtfully and expresses your opinions clearly.
Taking a pause is a sign of emotional maturity.
Pausing is a sign of emotional maturity.
Pausing is an underappreciated leadership skill, but it can make all the difference in effective communication. Emotionally mature individuals recognize that pausing has its place in conversations—allowing a person time to collect their thoughts or allowing an audience time to digest what is being said. Choosing to pause isn’t a sign of weakness; instead, it’s an act of strength and leadership that shows you are willing to listen and respect others before sharing your opinion. Taking the extra pause time gives you the space for better judgment and more thoughtful action.
When emotions are low, logic and rational thinking are high.
Leadership becomes possible when emotions are low, and we adhere to strict logical and rational thinking. It is derived from seeing the whole picture of any situation without emotions clouding our judgment. This can only be maintained when a level of emotional detachment is established, which leads to the ability to make decisions objectively. Leaders must have their feet firmly planted on the ground, unflinchingly analyzing all angles of a problematic situation before jumping into action. Leadership can become attainable by remaining committed to low levels of emotion and high levels of logic and rational thinking.
Speaking without thinking can be offensive to others and counterproductive to building relationships necessary for effective leadership.
To be an effective leader, one must carefully consider the words one chooses and how others will receive the comments. Thoughtless speech can negatively impact relationships, trust, and morale if it comes across as offensive or demeaning. Leaders must foster strong connections to those they lead to build successful teams and move forward with their initiatives. Therefore, speaking without thought – which could ultimately result in unkind remarks – is disrespectful and highly counterproductive when building meaningful relationships. Successful communication strategies require leaders to pause and assess how their words will affect those around them, ensuring that what they say is clear, kind, and supportive.