Fear of speaking up

Posted by jlubans on June 21, 2010

Speaking of not speaking up, an airline mag pointed me to this Harvard Business Review website,

It has good quality research and insights about three topics so far:

Women Are Afraid to Speak Up? Really?
Good Communication Goes Beyond Open Door Policies
Do Your Employees Think Speaking up Is Pointless?

Central to the argument of my book, Leading from the Middle, is that when the best kind of followership is encouraged people speak up fearlessly; they speak with a lion's voice not a mouse's. By this analogy, I do not mean a lion's ROAR, nor do I mean to deprecate mice - however, while cute, they do tend to get into a trembling state when anxious.
The best kind of followers are leaders in their own right - they think for themselves. They do not hold back. They often have a clear idea of what needs doing, what is wrong, what is right, what is ethical, what is not.
An organization can of course claim to have an environment of free inquiry, but what staff are looking for is how an employee that publicly takes a well articulated stand against a company policy is treated. Depending on that and dozens of other clues, you will either have a staff that is silent or vocal.
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