Last week we looked at the first type of silence that can literally kill people, or at very least kill morale – Fear of punishment or harsh consequences. Where have you noticed this happening? What steps have you taken to overcome it? What steps do you still need to take to open up communication? Now that you have tackled the first dangerous type of silence, let’s explore the second…

Deadly silence (#2)

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

1. Doubt ourselves. This happened in the blood type mismatch tragedy at Duke University Medical Centre. A person in authority behaved in a way that the support staff thought was risky but no-one said anything because they thought they might be wrong or might not have all the details. Rather than risking a moment of foolishness, they allowed a young girl to lose her life. Where do you notice this happening? Identify it so you can…

2. Combat self doubt. Encourage people to challenge you and make it part of the norm for people to give feedback to one another. To create a new culture, you will likely need to be the example and risk sticking your neck out and ask for feedback regularly – do not expect people to start talking up just because you said they should. People learn better from what they see – so be an example. Developing the habit of speaking out will ensure that the fear of saying something ‘stupid’ is minimised. To achieve this, it’s critical that feedback is valued and people are not ridiculed if they do make a mistake or ask the ‘stupid’ question. Changing a culture takes time, keep at it and you can…

“be the difference that makes the difference