Introducing the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee (IBSC): Sometime during my 50th trip around our star, I had a thought, “I should run a marathon before I turn 60.” And then those voices in my head kicked in with a nice chorus of “Yes, but…”
Framed on my study wall is a selfie of my daughter Isabel and myself in the cockpit of a Cessna two-seater. She’s in the pilot’s seat, I’m holding the camera and we both have the biggest smiles on our faces.
Think about your organization or work unit. Do they value innovation and employee participation? If you believe the answer is “yes,” read on.
On the other hand, if your organization is truly cursed by silence, and the risk of speaking up far exceeds the value, if you can’t quite decide between apathy or silent resistance, you can skip ahead to the conclusion!
Breaking the hard-trodden soil of silence at the worker-bee level will not be an easy task. It will take a great deal of courage, resilience, and vulnerability. It will also be tough to plow alone. That’s where alliances come in. Let’s work through all of this, one row at a time.
With a shared definition of the dimensions of silence and voice as well as an understanding of why silence is not golden, let’s explore some of the organizational dynamics and leadership behaviors that cause employees to feel their opinions are not valued and result in disengaged or self-protective behaviors.
People in all kinds of jobs, all kinds of organizations, all kinds of situations, reach a point where they want to say, “Enough.” They have the same uncomfortable realization: “I should do something about this.” Yet many remain silent. They don’t bring ideas forward.