I have long been convinced that the most destructive conversations in the workplace are the ones left unsaid. It’s the feedback that’s never given and the coaching that never occurs that keeps individuals and organizations from improving, learning and growing.
In Stranger Things vernacular, it’s the upside-down of effective discussions.
A sad phrase I’ve heard too many times: “No one ever told me that before.”
The unspoken feedback or coaching conversation creates a silent ripple effect supporting poor practices and deluding people into a false set of beliefs about their own performance. The words left unsaid ensure that the inertial effect of poor practices and lousy management remains unchanged and unchallenged.
“In the absence of any input to the contrary, I assumed I was doing a great job.”
Sometimes the unspoken feedback is less about what the performance has been than what it could be. These unspoken conversations place a heavy tax on future performance. Good people…the type you and I should be hiring and supporting, naturally crave a challenge to learn, strengthen and grow. Unfortunately, too many managers engage only on today’s business…the transactional work, and lack the courage or discipline to talk about tomorrow.
“I would like to do more, but we don’t seem to find time to talk about what that might look like and what I can do to get there.”
The Bottom-Line for Now:
How many feedback and coaching conversations are you saving up for a day that may never come? Recognition as we all know is the first step. Recognize the silent, performance and morale killing power of the conversations you’re not having. It’s time to start talking.