As Donald Rumsfeld once said “There are known knowns: things we know we know; there are known unknowns and there are unknown unknowns, things we do not know we don’t know.”
How do we make the invisible visible? How do we know what is not being said?
There is “what people say” and what they think and don’t say out loud. Which do you think is the stronger driver of their behaviour?
Have you ever been in a workplace meeting where you can feel the tension and resistance in the room? Not a bad word is said, but you could still cut the tension with a knife. No one is prepared to speak up for fear of the unknown outcome.
Why are we afraid to speak out our truth in the workplace? Do we believe they should already know?
Modern behavioural science suggests that we associate pain with being vulnerable, or in saying what is really on our mind. We associate pleasure with the perceived safety of silence. There is actually not a lot of safety in silence! Whilst you may not look vulnerable, it is very hard to hide any feelings of disdain, frustration and distrust. These become quite obvious in body language and mannerisms. People can sense negative energy far stronger than any spoken word.
Instinctively Making Meaning
Human beings are meaning making machines. We are hardwired to find meaning in situations, so we can decide if we are safe.
When we don’t know what someone is thinking and feeling, we use whatever information we have from both our past and present experiences to just make it up! In other words, we interpret what we think they intend to communicate, without ever checking in.
There is a great deal of value to be had from the insights and knowing of what we all leave unsaid….
Encouraging You to Be Transparent
- How will it impact the outcome if they understood the “intention” behind your act?
- How will you feel if you have been able to be honest and open about your intention and what things means for you and those around you?
Do you want to have more open and honest conversations in your workplace to allow your team to grow? You can learn all about the power of up-regulating and down-regulating instinctive brain chemicals to radically change your outcomes. It is powerful knowledge.
Workplace Culture Consultant