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Former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett found her voice at work by speaking up for others

Former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett found her voice at work by speaking up for others
Quartz
By Ephrat Livni
Published: January 17, 2019
>> Former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett found her voice at work by speaking up for others

Speaking up isn’t always easy, especially at work.

Even those of us who don’t necessarily consider ourselves shy sometimes hesitate to chime in for fear of being wrong or sounding stupid. Yet what if there was no one else to say it? Would you find a way to be heard?

The answer for Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to US president Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017, is “yes.” In her upcoming book Finding My Voice, Jarrett reveals that as a young lawyer in private practice in Chicago she was painfully shy. It never really went away, not even when she was advising the commander in chief and speaking to world leaders and the international press.
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There’s new research to support Jarrett’s claim that people are emboldened by responsibility. A series of recent studies published in the Academy of Management Journal, called “The Voice Bystander Effect,” shows that individual employees are increasingly reluctant to speak up about concerns and needs the more they believe that issues are well-known or are simply open secrets that aren’t being addresses [sic]. When they think that managers are unaware of the problems, and feel responsible for making issues known, they behave more boldly.

The findings suggest what Jarrett can attest to. The key to finding your voice can be using it on behalf of others first. In turn, taking responsibility and serving the greater good will work wonders for you, too.

Click here for Jarrett's full story.

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