Silent Sabotage

Recently, I’ve been thinking about leaders who are strong and confident and intelligent and well-spoken and hard to argue with. They make decisions quickly and boldly, always moving forward.


But these leaders can be emotionally deflating if they bulldoze right over other people and their opinions when making decisions.

This exposes an important truth.

Silence is not agreement. And you can be sure it’s not a sign of commitment, either.

This is so different from the concept of disagree and commit, discussed in a previous post.

Disagree and commit is when each team member is prompted to present their excitement and hesitations about a decision. The leader then holds each one accountable to the solution, even if they disagreed beforehand. Everyone speaks up, then commits to the team’s decision.

Silence, however, is more like disagree and step aside. It happens when team members do not share — or do not feel welcome to share — controversial feelings about a decision. They passively resist without any commitment, though they appear to commit by their lack of disapproval.

This kind of silence is sabotage.

Do all of your team members speak up during meetings? Why not?