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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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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • Shelena says:

    I believe SILENCE IS GOLDEN, TOO. Time to speak and time to be silent. You can take it to extreme either way.
    I am silent in church, silent with God, I believe in God even though HE is silent. Silence is Golden. Been through too much to have people shoving the bible in my face when I know who God is. Silence does not break peace with politicians. We need a little silence so the media and our opponent countries do not know what is going on. We tell too much. Today’s world is back stabbing, and that is why people do not always talk in small communities. It is not good to silence the entire world out of you life, but do so in moderation. Pray for God to bless you with friends when you lose people you love. Amen.

    Oh don’t it hurt deep inside
    To see someone do something to her
    Oh don’t it pain to see someone cry
    How especially if that someone is her
    Silence is golden
    But my eyes still see
    Silence is golden, golden
    But my eyes still see
    Talking is cheap people follow like sheep
    Even though there is no where to go
    How could she tell he deceived her so well
    Pity she’ll be the last one to know
    Silence is golden
    But my eyes still see
    Silence is golden, golden
    But my eyes still see
    How many times will she fall for his lines
    Should I tell her or should I be cool
    And if I tried I know she’d say I lied
    Mind your business don’t hurt her you fool
    Silence is golden
    But my eyes still see
    Silence is golden, golden
    But my eyes still see
    But my eyes still see
    But my eyes still see

  • John Doe says:

    Silence is golden. Small towns, countryside communities trick you into taking in their GOSSIP. Gossip kills. It can kill an innocent person’s job, segregate neighbors with a go between, get others to hate, etc… Go between’s that carry news to neighbors constantly are almost always welcome at another gossiper’s home. Beware of go between’s!!!! They are intrusive, socially inept people that love to destroy relationships and then sit back and laugh at their evil plan working out into play. I have sat back and watched “go between’s” segregate neighbors. It takes years for the truth to come out. The person who believes a go between constantly visiting each person in the neighborhood are oblivious. I am so glad I was educated by my family about this, but it is a shame it takes years for some so-called (you would think) intelligent enough people to know that. Anyone in their right mind would know that a person visiting them for telling tales out of school are just trouble makers.

  • Cart Wheel Manatee says:

    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.

  • ronedmondson says:

    Wow! That's real stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  • ronedmondson says:

    That's a great point. I hate that kind of silence.

  • Keep God First says:

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

  • Carolyn says:

    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 .

  • 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.

  • I am reminded of the verse — Proverbs 15:23 "A man finds joy in giving an apt reply and how good is a timely word!" . Thanks for the post, Ron.