The affect one scared or angry person can have in an organization is what I call “the startled bird syndrome”. When you watch a flock of birds, if one is scared they all start taking off. The message the one bird sends is instant “We’re in danger, get the flock out of here”.
In the absence of real information, our primitive brains go towards negative thoughts. In the past that propensity to imagine the worst kept us alive. That rustling bush could be a ferocious animal ready to pounce. In today’s environment the person withholding information is the rustling bush so we instinctively believe we are in danger. Our imagination can find fears that our rationale brain would find laughable. It takes bravery and conscious self talk to steer us towards the positive and really check out to see if there are tigers hiding.
Silence then, is not golden but dangerous. If we want to create safe, open and productive environments we need to have open and honest dialogue and show what really is hiding in the bushes. Silence stifles relationships and shows a disregard for the feelings of others. Good leaders communicate, bad leaders intimidate. Which are you?