Silently They Sit – Team Members Who Won’t Speak Up
Company Meeting at Boardroom Table

Do you notice certain team members who don’t speak up during meetings? How much valuable insight might you be missing out on because feel comfortable contributing to the discussion? It maybe because of the culture and its lack of safety.

As a senior lecturer of management at Northern Arizona University, one of my biggest challenges was coaxing students to contribute to class discussions. It seemed it was always the same handful of students who spoke up when it came time to share. After a few class sessions that should have been amazing but weren’t, I decided to dive into the research to find out why certain students simply wouldn’t contribute.

Why do certain people not contribute to open discussions?

As it turns out, it comes down to building a culture that rewards free contribution and thinking out loud and veers away from judgment for perceived “wrong” answers.

What are the reasons for not speaking up during meetings?

Frances Milliken, Elizabeth Morrison, and Patricia Hewlin, all of New York University, studied the problem of employees not raising concerns or reporting problems at work. Some of the reasons participants gave for not speaking up include:

  • Fear of being labeled or viewed negatively
  • Fear of damaging a relationship
  • Feeling of futility
  • Fear of retaliation or punishment
  • Concerns about the negative impact on others

How can Mariposa Consulting help?

To learn how to create a culture of safety, continue reading this exclusive content from The Transformation Studio when you sign up for our free 30-day trial here.

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