Organisational silence…at the Top?

I have just read the post by Robert Hardt Recognizing Organizational Silence and speaking up with impunity…..thank you for bringing this up! In my experience as former senior leader and more recently as leadership facilitator I have observed that organizational silence is often “loud” at the level of the management / leadership team; and that is making any process and trend toward increased expression and participation of employees even more cruel.
I have experienced one terrible situation after a two days retreat, at which 20 key leaders of an organization came up with courageous ideas and actions- on the cultural as well as on the strategic level- and faced the silence of a 12-persons leadership team. Onsite and afterward.
Yes, we can and are encouraging participation and voices from within the organization, but when there is no answer, response or (re)action from the top, then this silence is devastating! Also for the bottom line!
I would add to the very valuable habits of doing listed by Robert Hardt, one more on the doing side: ASK QUESTIONS!
And one more on BEING as a leader: BE CONFIDENT!
What I mean by that:
  • trust the process that many people within an organization have insights you may not have (at the top),
  • be confident that you are not losing face or credibility or authority as a leader if you empower a team and put the processes in place for teams to come up with courageous insights and actions, and seriously consider and accept the outcomes, facing the challenges which you may feel from them
  • Confidence will give you COURAGE, and ultimately ENERGY; and you need both today to move an organization toward its successful future
  • Be confident to be able to be CURIOUS and ASK MEANINGFUL QUESTIONS that will help insights to surface and engage the brain and the knowledge of the people around you.
In times of uncertainty, one of the roles of a Leader and of the Leadership team is not to “know”, but to put in place the processes within the organization for people to be able to bring in their best thinking and their best insights and knowledge.
Make a quick Silence check, asking yourself:
  • What are the questions you are not asking yet within your organization?
  • What are the processes in place within your broad organization for people to speak up and bring their best thinking?
  • How responsive are you and your leadership team, and what are the visible behaviors translating your responsiveness?
Wishing you curiosity, courage and confidence to lead your organization from where it is to where it can or must be.