There is phrase out there that says, “silence in violence”. I couldn’t agree more, particularly in organizational leadership. If there is silence within your team, that’s what you should be listening to, silence speaks volumes in leadership. It’s the silence that enables the entire team to avert their eyes to what’s really wrong with team, the organization or with leadership.
If there is silence within your team or team meetings; the silence is not the issue, trust is the issue. As the leader it is your job to make sure the team has the psychological safety to share. Free of any risk of being shamed, shaded or shunned by you or others on the team. If team members are not free of that risk, silence is the end result.
Below are 5 acts leaders do that create silence in leadership:
1.) A leader being threatening instead of challenging: a silent team is also a scared team; choose to be challenging not threatening and watch your team open up.
2.) A leader who is interrogating: when listening and communicating with your team, it’s important that team members believe you to be interested and not interrogating in your interactions with them and their work.
3.) A leader who does not allow the team to speak their mind: create an environment where the team is free to voice their thoughts (within reason) without interruption or intimidation from anyone.
4.) A leader who herds their team: to herd a team is to move the team in a direction without their input. Team members desire for their role to connect to the overall mission of the organization and for their voice to be heard while doing so.
5.) A leader who fosters groupthink: if there’s groupthink, the group stinks. Challenge your team to think a part from your dream for the team.