Over time we have noticed a theme running through the work that we do and we’re excited because we believe it points to a powerful opportunity for positive change. So what is this theme?
Time and again, people tell us they are too scared to speak out for fear of the consequences. They’ll sit through meetings and say “Yes” to their boss, then walk away, complaining that “it’s a stupid idea” and “won’t work”. When we ask why they don’t speak out our clients assure us they will be ridiculed, have their pay cut or be fired for expressing an opinion that goes against that of their boss!
These people are in a bind. Most of them have families to support, children to educate and often other dependants too and they are sincere in their desire to meet these responsibilities. And so they work in jobs they don’t enjoy and in which they find it difficult to be motivated and engaged. As a result, leaders are losing something of great value – the enlarged perspective that comes when people feel safe to share their thoughts and voice their concerns as well as the magic that occurs when creativity and innovation are nurtured and able to flourish.
The powerful opportunity is then to learn to communicate in ways that connect rather than divide and build rather than tear apart, creating spaces in which people feel secure to risk being vulnerable and to grow. This is not easy – it’s like learning to speak a new language. However we believe that by becoming better communicators we can live more responsibly and transform not only ourselves but also our families, workspaces and our communities.