December 2, 2009

Sounds of Silence

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:41 pm by ctennert

This article about organizational silence is a great overview of what the disease actually is that affects the majority of organizations today.  The metaphor of the CEO who comes to work with no clothes on, yet his employees will not say a word to him about it is a great one, in an extreme case.  It is sad that many employees feel as thought they cannot communicate concerns to their superiors for fear of being reprimanded.  Or worse, their voices will simply go unheard. 

Organizational silence is pervasive for a reason.  It has led me to believe that this reason is lack of manager effort to create and maintain an environment in which employees can learn and grow within the organization.  Managers who block negative feedback are compromising employee satisfaction, and taking away a sense of involvement in the organization.  This will eventually lead to a negative effect on morale and performance, and will thus lead to turnover. 

Why do some managers block negative feedback?  It is because they feel as though they already have enough on their plate from their superior, or is it just pure laziness, or, the “ignorance is bliss” mentality?  They probably do not want to fix the problems they are about to hear about, and quite frankly, then they should not be in the position they are in.  Most times than not, they may already know there is a problem at hand, but pretend as if there is not, hence cognitive dissonance, but on the managerial level.

Managers beware of a staff that does not speak up or offer criticism, because silence does not equal consensus, happiness, organizational health, or success.  Managers would be wise to seek out feedback among staff members, and try to be proactive in finding concerns, and fixing them before the employee’s performance is effected.

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