I met a colleague and dear friend for lunch yesterday. The walk from my office to where I was meeting her allowed me to see, hear, and talk to employees. From a friendly hello, to someone asking a question, to talking to two moms having coffee giving each other support on work and parenting. The buzz of engagement lifted my spirits.
How is the noise level in your organization? As you come and go during your day, do you hear and see the hum of engagement? Do you see people across teams working together on projects, do you even hear the noise of healthy debate, and do you hear the laughter and joy of people enjoying their work together? It is good to pay attention to the noise.How is the noise level in your organization? Do you hear and see the hum of engagement? Click To Tweet
If there is silence in your organization (and in your home), you may have some major problems and miss it. The truth is sometimes we long for silence and can even lead in such a way that we suppress the noise. Here are a few of the dangers of silence.
6 Reasons Silence is Deadly in the Workplace
If the people on your team stop caring, you are in trouble. A lack of emotion, interest, or enthusiasm over work is deadly. If people stop caring, they do just enough to get by, they become passive to change or innovation, and they stay isolated from others including the customers you serve. Watch out for the silence caused by apathy.
When people are afraid, they naturally retreat or protect themselves. Closed doors, whispers quietly spoken, and isolation from others is a few of the responses to fear. When people are afraid, they don’t want to engage. They won’t speak up on issues or concerns or speak up on ideas for fear of how others will respond especially the leader. If you walk the halls and you don’t hear noise, you may have a fear problem in your organization.
Have you set up a culture of competition? Are people afraid to share ideas or collaborate on solutions or opportunities? Is it one team against another, one person against another? How do you reward, recognize accomplishments, and address failures? Do you pit one team against another (or one child against another)? Internal competition requires a great deal of energy that can drain a team and waste organizational momentum on the wrong outcome. You want and need the energy of teams working across functions and disciplines to solve problems, advance opportunities, and create new initiatives to serve your customers and to grow.
Lack of trust.
Silence may mean that your team has lost trust and confidence in you and your leaders. Trust is a deep and powerful force and is the foundation of all healthy teams. Trust is built over time with consistent actions of honesty, character, and competence. Trust creates hope and a lack of trust creates hopelessness. When people trust, they believe that where you are leading them is a good place and they want to follow. Don’t take trust for granted and be careful to guard it.
The pace of work and life today is ruthless. We are wired and on 24/7. Watching the energy level of your team is critical to know when to intervene. Reward your top performers with time off. Some of your best people need a firm hand on boundaries and rest. It is easy to create a culture where you reward those that work all the time and that is dangerous. A healthy life requires rest to be at your best. Pay attention to a team or team members in overdrive that need a word from you on taking a break, having family time, and balancing the passion of work with time off from work.
The noise of fun, laughter, and play is great for a team (and a family!). If you aren’t hearing “fun” on your team, you may have a problem. When people enjoy their work, enjoy the environment in which they work, they engage more and give more. This is one danger area that you can spot easily. If people are smiling, laughing, and enjoying their work, you will know.
Do a noise check in your organization (or home) today? Walk the halls and listen. Take note of what you are hearing or not hearing. And make changes today that will address any of the danger signs of silence.
“Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.” Psalm 100:1-2
What other dangers do you see in silence in the workplace or in the home?