Do You Stay Silent When It Matters?
Leaders say they want people to speak up to them, to share ideas for new products or services or to suggest ways the business could work more productively and effectively. And of course, they want and indeed need to hear about unethical or inappropriate behavior. But as the constant stream of headline shows us, people in organizations typically stay silent even when it really, really matters.
I was curious to find out what was getting in the way of speaking up? My co-researcher, John Higgins, and I wanted to know why people are so reluctant to speak truth to power, and what can organizations do to encourage open and honest dialogue. Our research conducted over the last four years with thousands of people has shown that most leaders are blind to just how difficult it is for others to speak up to them. And as a result, they’re missing out on vital intelligence which could affect their company’s success or even its survival.
Megan Reitz is Professor of Leadership and Dialogue at Ashridge where she speaks, researches, consults and supervises on the intersection of leadership, change, dialogue and mindfulness. She is on the Thinkers50 radar of global business thinkers and is ranked in HR Magazine’s Most Influential Thinkers listing. She has presented her research to audiences throughout the world and is the author of Dialogue in Organizations and Mind Time. Her new book, with Financial Times Publishing, is called Speak Up.