Silence is not golden.
Our team sits around the table. They are intelligent, creative and motivated. One of them may have the answer to our firm’s biggest problem…so why don’t we hear from them?
If our meeting is predominantly about ‘thinking’, (planning/creating/problem solving), then we want input. From everyone.
Here’s a few reasons our team are hesitant to speak:
Status management (e.g. “I’ll let my boss speak first”)
Authority gradients (high performing teams have quite flat authority gradients - how’s the gradient in your team?)
You like the sound of your own voice (the language in the meeting should be roughly shared between all participants - why are you doing most of the talking?)
Language backgrounds (does your team REALLY understand what you are asking?)
They don’t feel ‘safe’. They have been made to feel foolish in a past meeting. (Guaranteed to shut down any input from that team member, and also others)
You are asking closed questions (“Here’s what I think…[ ]does everyone agree?”)
Your tone of voice is not inviting opinions opposite to yours (you NEED these!)
As leader, you own all of this. You are responsible for mitigating or removing these barriers. This is leadership.
Leadership is an art which is practiced and refined over a lifetime.