What is the third deadly silence?

by | Mar 18, 2013 | Uncategorised

You can see that the evidence is mounting against the old adage, ‘silence is golden’. Knowing when to bite your tongue is definitely wise but it is also wise to know when to speak up and to use your voice well. It is important not to be a sheep or allow those around you to be sheepish. So, let’s take Key Steps together and take a stand against…

Deadly silence (#3)

Silence is unhealthy and even deadly when we don’t speak up because we:

1. Follow the crowd. The term ‘bystander apathy’ was coined by a group of researchers who found that we tend to take our cue about whether to speak up or not from those around us. In alarming circumstances, most people keep quiet if those around them seem unperturbed. In other words, silence becomes contagious in our effort to maintain the status quo.

2. Don’t be a sheep. Teach people about the dire consequences of the theory of ‘diffusion of responsibility’ that is offered to explain the bystander effect. The theory states that people ask themselves, “Why should I help or speak up when there’s someone else who could do it?” Responsibility for helping then diffuses or spreads. Just like a layer of oil, which becomes thinner the larger the area it covers, so our sense of responsibility weakens in the midst of a large group. How often do you see this theory at play in your workplace or family? If it is not your responsibility to help or to speak up when necessary, whose is it? Make it safe for people to talk up and give feedback (remember last week that we spoke about the importance of non-judgement and not ridiculing anyone) and remind yourself and other that all it takes is one person to…

“be the difference that makes the difference




NOTE: The information in my blog may be freely shared and re-used in any online or offline publication, provided it is accompanied by the following credit line: This was written by Dr Sharon King Gabrielides, and originally appeared in her free bi-weekly  ‘Key Steps Food for Thought Blog’ available on the Key Steps website.

Dr Sharon King Gabrielides, EQ Expert, Founder and CEO

Sharon is a dynamic facilitator, speaker and executive coach with over 25 years’ experience in leadership development and organisational transformation. Her PhD thesis contributed a framework for holistic and sustainable leadership development that was published by Rutgers University in the USA. She is faculty of numerous business schools and highly sought-after by leading corporates because she works hand-in-hand with them to create sustainable results and long-term success. In 2020, Sharon was inducted into the Educators Hall of Fame, which is a lifetime achievement award, recognising excellence and her contribution to the field.

Sharon is one of only three women in South Africa to hold the title of Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) – the Oscar of the speaking industry. She is also a COMENSA Master Practitioner (CMP), a qualified Modern Classroom Certified Trainer (MCCT™) and an accredited Global Virtual Speaker. Sharon is also a registered Education, Training and Development Practitioner (ETDP), holds an Honours degree in Psychology and practices as an NLP master practitioner.

Most important to Sharon is that she has become known for her genuinely caring manner, practical and transformational approach, and for providing valuable tools and that allow people to take Key Steps to really… ‘be the difference that makes the difference.’