I have endured, and those around me have celebrated, the two times that I have been on doctor's orders not to talk, not even to make a sound. Could you go for two weeks without making a sound?
But even during these times, I could not keep silent around my staff and my team. While I couldn't talk I still needed to communicate.
Silence or not responding to a request or comment is the worst thing I can do. Recently while discussing this topic with a friend he stated that 'no response' was probably a 'NO' response. While that might be the case, we leaders miss the point of our role if we are ambivalent and silent toward an idea, information request, criticism or complaint.
When our teams come to our offices with an idea or a question the worst response we can give them is 'not giving a response.' Silence in these situations communicates loudly:
- that I don't care
- their question is a bother and...
- it can hurt their self-esteem
So why is 'no response' an option for some? It seems easy and it avoids confrontation.
If we don't have an immediate answer then we need to say that. If we tell them we will get back with them, we need to follow through. If after thinking about the situation and yes answer is yes...go for it...we need to say that. And if our answer is NO...we need to say that.
There are appropriate times for silence, but silence in the wrong place can do harm to the team and/or team member.
Have you ever had a team lead give you a 'no response' response?