Manager's Tips and Tools

by Manager Development Services

As Manager, I must Learn to “Love the Silence”

There’s times when every manager has to confront an employee who’s dropped the ball.

I speak, and when I’m finished talking, I ask a question and then, most importantly, I shut-up. I wait for a response.  Many times there’s an awkward silence as the other person formulates a response.  And I swear I can almost see the wheels turning.  If I interject, then in effect I nullify my question and distract the other person.

Most people get very uncomfortable, and will even begin to sweat, during an awkward silence.  Their first impulse is to break the tension by saying something that is often defocused from the subject.

Most times when there is an extended awkward silence it is because the other person is being untruthful or is caught off guard and trying to figure out a way to cover his or her butt.   If I feel so uncomfortable that I add or interject something, the other person gets off the hook and has time to formulate a lie.

If I learn to love the silence, I can stay relaxed and objective. I know that whatever the other person is going to say next is going to be something important. Whether it is a well thought out idea or a lie, I’m about to gain valuable information.  Sometimes a lie is even more valuable than the truth because it tells me where the other person’s head and heart are.

Many times I’ve found that the building tension caused by an extended time-out provokes the truth to be spoken.

…So Learn To Love the Silence

– excerpt from “The ‘Art’ of Counseling Staff”


April 9, 2011 - Posted by | Manager Development Tools

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