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

17 Jan 2019
Speaking up isn’t always easy, especially at work.

Originally found at Quartz, by Ephrat Livni

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.

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. When they think that managers are unaware of the problems, and feel responsible for making issues known, they behave more boldly.

Continue reading original article at Quartz.


Read the original research in Academy of Management Journal

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