We all play a role in the workplace. Even the person who is never asked plays a role. Everyone has an opportunity to contribute, the question is, “How will they?” Have you ever felt that speaking up is a risky decision?
We sometimes evaluate our circumstances in strange ways. Our contributions as an employee may find us offering opinions or retreating to silence out of fear. What do you do?
Fear as a Driver
Much of what happens in our workplace cultures is conditioned by fear. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes not, but it still happens.
What happened the last time someone was wrong? Did their contribution get labeled as a failure? Did they get uninvited from the team meeting? Are their chances of a future promotion now limited? Were they fired?
Perhaps none of those things happened but that is the message that is often floating around in our head. “I should say something but it is too risky.”
What is your measurement of risk?
Do you withdraw from contributing out of fear? Do you watch your team or organization make costly wrong turns which could have been avoided if you offered your perspective? What is riskier?
No one wants to make a bad choice or a wrong decision. Sometimes our decisions turn out the wrong way because we lack information.
No one told me the caesar salad had anchovies.
I didn’t realize how many calories were in the chocolate fudge brownie.
They person I bought the car from never mentioned the transmission was acting up.
What carries the most risk? The consequences of politely and appropriately contributing to the conversation or watching the disaster that may unfold if you don’t speak up?
Be careful with your risky decision.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.