When you are on a really healthy team people feel freedom to speak up when needed, so if they don’t, you can often safely assume they are in agreement… A good personal evaluation for the leader is to ask yourself this question: What does silence on my team indicate?
I’ve often said good leaders never assume silence means everyone is in agreement.
Especially during seasons of change the leader can’t assume everyone is on board because they aren’t hearing complaints. On one extreme people may feel there will be retribution for stating their opinion. The reality is leaders can be intimidating just by position – whether they intend to be or not. On the other extreme people may not say say what’s on their mind simply believing it would be something the leader already knows. But, all of us only know what we know. We don’t know anymore.
The leader doesn’t always hear what they need to hear, which is why good leaders ask good questions.
There is one caveat to this principle, however.
When a team is healthy – really healthy – so that the leader is approachable and team members know they are encouraged to participate in discussion. When there is no unresolved conflict or underlying drama. And, when people are on the team not just for a paycheck, but because they believe in the mission and love the team.