If you’re a leader who encourages people to speak up and contribute ideas, you may assume no one will remain silent when they have an idea you haven’t thought of, or spot a problem you haven’t noticed. That assumption seems reasonable, but research suggests that people are motivated to speak up only if they believe their contribution will have an impact on the organization, and that they will not be punished for their comment. By contrast, people fail to signal a problem or idea to the boss when they think there will be negative repercussions for doing so—like getting shunned or fired.
Writing in the Harvard Business Review Michael Parke, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at London Business School, offers strategies for managing both the “voice” and “silence” aspects of employee contributions.
To solicit voice:
To manage silence: