The Sound of Silence

The worst thing a boss can hear is silence
Silence from the shop floor. The sound of people who see things going wrong but then don’t speak up. People who don’t speak up because:

Sometimes, the easiest thing to do is to stay silent, to pretend things are cushty and hide problems.

Silence is the sound of people who worry about positioning and saying the right thing to the boss.  They don’t worry so much about what is right for the organisation.

But there is always something going wrong

Unless — of course — your organisation is perfect.

A boss should know what is going wrong in their organisation. He should understand the issues and use his position and resources to help fix them.

A boss should hear the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

The whole nine yards.

People will tell their bosses what their bosses listen to:

  • If they like to hear that everything is going well — they will get sugar-coated pleasantries.
  • If they ask for suggestions then ignore them — the conversation will dry up.
  • If they listen to people’s problems and then help them fix them — they will hear about problems. They will hear what is going on.

What does your boss listen to?

And what do you tell him?

And if you are the boss…

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Sound of Silence

Image by Craig Sunter

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  1. James,
    Silence to bosses is the same as silent complaints to firms. Just because nothing gets said to you does not mean that they don’t exist. Therefore, it’s encumbent on firms to work hard and seek out the silent complaints. The same goes for bosses too.


  2. I guess I’m lucky. My boss tells me to not be afraid to speak my mind and provide opposing views, if I have them. I would do/expect the same for my own staff. There’s a difference between telling and embracing/appreciating… that is key to getting the employee to speak up.

    Annette :-)