What is Your Voice? What is Your Platform?

Published: June 9, 2020

When the societal mindset is shaken by a crisis, everyone is forced to look inside and answer tough questions. Often, we look to others on our teams for guidance and role modeling. Team leaders are watched carefully as their voices and platforms can have greater reach and impact. In the delicate ecosystem of teams, everything we say and do affects everyone in our circle. What is your voice? What is your platform?

When you don’t know what to say or do, it’s easier to study the words and actions of others and decide whether you are aligned. Immersing yourself in books, articles and media posts satisfies the need for action and, depending on the veracity of your sources, can make you better informed. Eventually, your own voice begins to take shape.

Expressing an educated viewpoint is different than knowing how you feel and what you believe. Your voice is raised when your study of the issue becomes ownership of a perspective. Most of us prefer to have complete clarity before sharing anything personal. Once clear, we have a responsibility to those who rely on our wisdom to take a position. Both quiet and expression are choices that have consequences.

The choice to express sends ripples out to coworkers, friends and families. Our professional, social and interpersonal teammates share reciprocal stewardship of the wellness of the ecosystem. This is your platform. Who is impacted by your voice? Who is leaning in and relying on your words for guidance during tumultuous times? Your children? Your friends? Your employees? Your congregation? Your neighborhood? Your students? Your clients? Your readers?

Our platforms expand as we age and assume roles of greater responsibility. It doesn’t matter how big or influential your platform may be. What matters is that everyone has one. When problems seem larger than available solutions, it’s easy to become discouraged. It’s hard to know what to do. One finger does not lift a thousand people. So, don’t try to lift a thousand people. Perhaps you can lift just one.

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst College where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.