• SMTyus

Do your leaders make the most of having a seat at the table?



Leaders who desire to impact their organization’s bottom line often aspire to have a “seat at the table.” It is their opportunity to be heard and to influence the direction of the company. In other words, there is power in having a seat at the table; a seat so coveted that Shirley Chisholm once said, "If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair."


Having a seat at the table is great, but I argue that having a seat at a table for two is just as important. As you aspire to sit at the main table, have you invited those you represent to have one-on-one conversations where you can gain insight, ideas, and feedback from those you lead? Have you taken the time to dine at a table for two?


The purpose of influence is to "speak up for those who have no influence. – Rick Warren


Think about it, sitting at a table for two with your employee could uncover the following:


  1. What your employees value the most. Having one-on-one conversations says to the employee, "you have their attention and what they are saying is important."

  2. Personal knowledge about your employees. This helps to personalize incentives and rewards, and advocate for those benefits and policies that would benefit them the most.

  3. Their career aspirations. It will allow you to be their advocate for any projects on the horizon.

  4. Gaps and assumptions about what you perceive and what is reality to your employees. Often, if leaders do not hear any grumblings, they think all is well, when, in truth, employees are just keeping silent.

  5. Diversity of thought. Unfortunately, even today, those who have a seat at the table are generally less diverse than their employee population. Having those one-on-one conversations would allow you to bring input from a variety of perspectives.

So, on your way to having a seat at the table, talk to your employees about their experiences and gather important information. In turn, it will make you a more valuable and trusted leader.


If you would like to discuss innovative ideas to include in your leadership or talent development programs, contact me today.