silent but deadly

By the time you actually read this published post – I will have rewritten it, edited it, and saved it as a draft while pondering on it… many times… I tell you this, up front, so you can frame the importance of this concept. I have broken it down to an easily identifiable analogy – but hope you get the impact as situations can magnify it.

***

At a young age children kids will say and do the darndest things, which also stems from a show hosted by Bill Cosby. The things that they say may seem to be no big deal while they are little but remember that they will grow up. “What is not cute at 3 will not be cute at 13,” my wife reminds me.While on break at work one day I started to think about, what is called in the business world as, silent leadership. Silent leadership is the type of leading, managing or supervising a person or situation where a lack of attention to a detail (or ignoring) can actual send the wrong message.

Consider a younger child and how we may take certain phrases or actions into consideration for their age. A three year old that hits or repeats an adult phrase. First – if you have older children – what would you say if the older child said that to you? “They’re a kid…just let them be.” By not acting in the early stages in many cases we often let seeds grow that will be much harder to address later. The silent leadership, or lack of leadership, is accepting of the behaviors simply by doing nothing at all. Behaviors are the fruits of seeds planted long before. I am not proposing that you become the office police. I am only suggesting that we either stand for the right – or accept the consequences later.

“This does not have anything to do with me,” you say? How many people know someone who comes late to meetings (and they are usually the same predictable people)? The behavior has been accepted – or the consequence not severe enough to change the behavior.

If you take the time to think about it – what are you encouraging with your silent leadership?

Originally posted January 7th, 2013, revised 06/04/2013.

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