In an articled published in The MJ, Rebecca Davis examines the need for communication, dialogue and trust within organisations and how pioneering programmes are developing strategies to smash the culture of silence that impedes progress.
The simple act of silence, usually perceived as an act of peacefulness, can be a dangerous territory. For a senior leader in any organisation, silence can be a cause for alarm, but in a public sector setting it has the potential to be catastrophic. In the past 12 months, we have seen many cases of scandals erupting in various public services where either individuals or groups of individuals were able to act outside the boundaries of what is acceptable or legal, leaving people vulnerable, not receiving the services they should or at worse, victims of a criminal act. The root cause of this often stems from a culture of silence in an organisation, where people did not feel able to speak up, or when they did,
they were not listened to and the magnitude of what they were saying was not fully appreciated or acted upon.
There have been many cases in the news in recent weeks that have reminded us of the importance of ethics and speaking ‘truth to power’. As the regional employers’ organisation, my team often have to manage sensitive situations and share difficult messages. It is hard and can leave you out on a limb, exposed and in need of reassurance and support that you’re doing the right thing.
Rebecca Davis, BSc MSc FCIPD
Chief Executive, West Midlands Employers