Review: When to Speak Up and When to Shut Up

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Consciousness & Social IQ, Democracy, Public Administration

5.0 out of 5 stars Christian Social IQ Book with Moral Foundation
July 7, 2010
Michael Sedler

This was a very intriguing book and I am going to have to read it more than once. I bought it thinking it was a social IQ book, kind of an intelligent person’s conversational etiquette. It is far more than that, very Christian but also very practical for anyone. If I were to give away two small books as traveling companions for anyone, this would be one, Leadership Lessons of Jesus: A Timeless Model for Today’s Leaders, which was sold in the Special Operations bookstores when LtGen Jerry Boykin was deputy for intelligence in the Pentagon, see his biography, Never Surrender: A Soldier’s Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom.

Where this book impacted on me to the extent any book can influence the habits of a 57-year old, was in really making crystal clear the value of questions instead of statements as a conversational contribution. I kept thinking Socratic, and also thinking of my colleagues in the war colleges who must learn to teach future generals who do not want to be told anything, but can be challenged to think more broadly.

The author distinguishes between questioning (bad) and asking questions (good), and this I noted down:

QUESTIONING
1. Persisting
2. Complaining
3. Challenging
4. Debating and disputing
5. Making accusations
6. Taking up an offensive

ASKING QUESTIONS
1. Prepare
2. Timing
3. Get to the point
4. Recognize authority
5. Ask for more information if not clear
6. Avoid becoming defensive
7. Avoid trying to justify self
8. Thank for time

Two quotes I especially liked:

“The enticement to be secretive, and to withhold information is a battle for many of us.”

“Dishonesty,trickery, deceit, lying–each may be justified in our own minds. We rationalize and develop our own sense of morality in order to protect ourselves. Unfortunately a web of deceit usually ends up creating more problems than originally existed.”

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