Silence Can Be Deadly!

Especially when people are involved.

You’ve heard silence is golden – and it’s true. One of my favorite verses is Ecclesiastes 5:2. “God is in heaven and you are on earth. Let your words be few.”. James tells us to guard the tongue. I often get in less trouble when I talk less.

And, maybe this is exactly the encouragement you need from this post. Quit talking long enough to think before you speak – or before you post on Facebook! 

But, silence can also be deadly.

Especially in a team environment, in an organizational structure, or in a relational setting – anywhere people are closely involved with other people – silence can be a curse. When working on a project, implementing change, planning for the future – silence can kill you!

The point of this post is simply to remind you – people only know what they know. They often won’t know what they need to know unless you tell them.

In the process of leading people, keep people updated with what you know. Even if you don’t have all the answers, let them have the answers you do have.

When people don’t have information, they tend to invent their own scenarios.

Silence fuels rumors. They make up stories. They stretch and fabricate what the little they do know. Fear, tension, and frustrations rise. Even those who were once fully invested often become discouraged. Morale is injured and enthusiasm wanes.

And, all of these mostly emotionally-driven reactions are fueled by the unknown – by silence.

In my experience, people will be more patient if they receive adequate communication while they wait for the final details. Of course, the main thing people need to know is the why behind what you are doing – and you must keep reminding the – but they also want details of progress along the way. If you want to keep progress moving forward – break the silence and share information. Keep people informed. Communicate!

Have you experienced the pain of silence in a team, organizational, or relationship setting?

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11 thoughts on “Silence Can Be Deadly!

  1. We have seen it first hand. We have done it too. When you see leadership do it, you think it's okay, but the more time goes by, you can see because you feel the pain. Jesus said to walk in the light. Anything that dissolves trust between leaders and the people who work for or follow them is the quickest way to kill progress.

  2. Read recently that women often interpret their husband's silence as hostility, not peace, and that stonewalling is selfishness.

  3. A very high up person at my unviersity left (was fired?) a few weeks ago. We are still waiting for more information than the email stating only "Many of you may have heard that ___________resigned Friday."
    This makes us all feel uncertain about our jobs. We are also angry that they cannot even be bothered by announcing a polite non-reason–it highlights an arrogance that we already suspected–the leadership feels that they don't owe us any sort of information .

  4. Something that I have experienced is the silence of those who have concerns about something not working, then the thing that is proposed doesn't work and those who had concerns come up and say–"I knew that would happen." I do not want only "yes-men"–I want people with concerns to share them.