5 Things That Happen When You Don’t Speak Your Mind At Work
- Guest Author
- August 10, 2016
- Office Politics
- No responses
We all have opinions. All kinds of opinions on all kinds of topics. Expressing them, discussing them and sharing them is part of the fun of being human; our differing thoughts and varying ideologies help us grow and develop as people. Opinions are wonderful things.
At work, opinions are terrifying. At work, a controversial opinion can lead to you to be disliked, it can harm your reputation and even leave you vulnerable to losing your job.
For that reason, even those of us who are confident and assertive in our personal lives, end up falling victim to workplace passivity; sitting in meetings, keeping schtum when our boss says something we completely disagree with.
Although remaining silent can seem like the easier option in the moment, the inability to voice an opinion can be harmful to your organisation and detrimental to your own career in the long run.
To illustrate this, here are five things that happen when you DON’T speak your mind at work, to make you think twice next time someone asks “What do you think?”
If you continually agree with all decisions and ideas in the workplace, you will be viewed as apathetic. You will lose the respect of your colleagues and superiors and they will eventually stop asking for your thoughts.
A person who voices an opinion – even a contrasting one, stands out and automatically demands authority. If you are able to say what you think with integrity and without offending anyone, you will command the kind of respect that gets you noticed and helps elevate your career.
Keeping quiet and saying nothing looks like the safer option on the surface, but in fact, your silence could prove dangerous. Failing to voice your opinion could lead you to go along with decisions and ideas that you don’t agree with and know are wrong.
This is often associated with workplace bullying. Although this kind of behaviour is usually down to one or two individuals, when many people notice victimisation and fail to make a stand, every witness becomes passively complicit.
All innovation and growth begin and ends with a great idea. If you have a creative thought with lots of potential but hold back in fear of looking foolish, your overall organisation won’t have the chance to try new things and move forward.
Your opinions form your personality and who you are at your very core. If you are afraid to voice them, you will begin to question your integrity and lose sight of your moral compass.
This lack of self-confidence can impact your mental health by increasing anxiety levels and therefore affect your overall performance at work.
Even if voicing your opinion has a negative outcome, you will be able to stand back and know that despite it all, you have been true to yourself.
Being agreeable seems like an easy way to keep all risks low. If you don’t say anything controversial, you won’t look foolish, you won’t make enemies and you won’t make any mistakes, right?
That might be true. However, looking foolish, making an error and going against the grain are often our most valuable learning experience. In your career, not making mistakes can be the biggest mistake you make
Voicing an opinion is incredibly daunting, however, it’s just a matter of breaking a behavioural habit. The first time you gather the courage to say what you think, you will be intimidated but each time after that will become easier. Eventually, you’ll feel free and when speaking your mind it will become instinctive.
Regretting action is always worse than regretting inaction. Next time you’re asked for your opinion, say what you think and deal with the consequences instead of sitting back quietly and beating yourself up for all the things you should have said.
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