We’ve made emotions, the inner critic, and what we feel in our bodies undiscussable in most organisations, perhaps especially for those with the most power and hence the most to lose.
And the effects are far-reaching.
Because without an honest conversation about our fear and vulnerability, and in the midst of the myth of the heroic, independently capable leader, we’ve rendered ourselves mute on one of the most important conversations we could be having: our first-hand account of what makes it so difficult, so often, to tell the truth. And what could help us.
We become united in our silence.
The consequences go far beyond momentary inconvenience, or the conversation you’re avoiding about a colleague’s performance. Because when we’re unable to tell truth, and tolerate doing so however it feels, we turn away from each other and from our capacity to act.
In the spaces left by our silence, the seeds of great difficulty can grow, unrestrained – the seeds of organisational malpractice, self-interest, and denial. And soon, they grow in our society too, even though many of us have forgotten that our work and society are not separate from one another.
How many more economic, ethical, and environmental crises are we willing to have our organisations be part of? How long before we discover our urgent need to turn to one another about all this, and speak up about what we see in ourselves that has us hold back?