Double-speak and Silence hide the truth

Double-speak and Silence hide the truth

Irrespective of what your stance is on how we should deal with Australia's asylum seekers, this post holds some important truths for all our leaders.

Stephen Yolland is a well-known Australian/British businessman, with expertise in marketing and advertising. He is a writer, social and political thinker, media presenter and author.

(I confess, I'd never really known of him before I came across his post today.)

In his post about Immigration Minister Morrison and the significant drop in communication to the public regarding 'Operation Sovereign Borders' (the new government's initiative to stop asylum seeker boats from landing here), Yolland suggests that:


silence is not golden when it is designed to mislead us, and obscure the truth.


And I agree.

So many organisations are headed up by leaders who are lacking the courage to speak the truth to their troops. So in countless instances, they say nothing. They rationalise this by saying things like 'what they don't know can't hurt them' and 'I don't want to lie to them so I prefer to say nothing'.

Well hear this - you can lie by omission

That's right. Not telling people something you know is of interest to them and/or impacts them in some way is lying.

So gut some gumption leaders. Use your voice - tell the truth - quit treating people like sheep (or worse ... we all know that saying ...)

If you can't do this, then please move on and make room for someone who's truly ready to lead.

PS. You can read Yolland's full post here: 

Marina Michaels says:
Thanks for your great Web site and article.

It goes the other way too--sometimes someone at the top is not good for the company, and other management team members don't see it or turn a blind eye.

I am talking about bad managers--people who don't know how to treat their people well, or show respect, or reward outstanding service; people who take things personally and seek revenge on employees who have offended them; people who openly or secretly persecute specific people.

Those who work under such managers know what's going on, but they also know it would be job suicide to speak up. Instead, one after another, they leave the company for reasons that sound good, but they are really leaving to get away from that manager. So the company loses good employees that didn't have to be lost.

I once worked at a company that had a 50% turnover rate. The president of the company was part of the problem; I was in a conversation in which she said that the high turnover wasn't a problem because "People are like integrated circuits. You lose one, you just replace them with another." (She was an engineer with no management training.) The company failed completely six months after I quit.

How does a company figure out that this is going on? What does a company do to fix the situation? If the president or someone else very highly placed is part of the problem, what can a company do?
Sandi says:
Yikes! 50% turnover - that's hugely high for any profession or industry, Marina!

You pose an all-too-common problem. The only solution I see is for someone, somewhere to speak up.

Everyone's accountable to someone. Even the 'Top person' is accountable to a Board of Directors and/or the shareholders usually.

First, someone needs to figure out what's going on (not hard if they listen and watch attentively). Secondly, they need to share what they know with someone who will listen.

I'm an optimist - I will always work doggedly to find a way to address an issue - even the really tough ones like this!

Thanks again for your comment, Marina - and your compliment!

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