If your team has more than four people, you may have noticed that some talk more than others. You may have even noticed that about half your team, no matter how big it is, talks less than the other half. Some of us are talkative and outgoing, and about half of us are quiet and reflective. It has nothing to do with intelligence, problem solving, or leading -- some folks are just more quiet.
A mistake many leaders make is giving up the floor to the talkative ones and once they are done talking (which to the rest of the group can seem like forever) assuming that the floor can now be closed. Decisions can be made. Solutions have all been identified. Strategy is certain. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Until you as a leader have also considered the thoughts of the quiet ones you have effectively reduced your possibilities in half. The job of a high performance leader is to increase, not decrease, possibilities.
How do you get the quiet ones to talk? Ask! Allow time to reflect. Allow time to write things down. Allow time to breathe, even to move around. Come back later if necessary, just don't close the loop until the quiet ones have spoken.
The quiet ones on your team have much to say -- they just aren't saying it.
Your task is to create the environment where they will say it.
-- doug smith