Companies will perform better if employees are not cowed into silence

IN “DAD’S ARMY”, a British sitcom about a home-defence force, Sergeant Wilson would often query his commander’s various orders with the languid phrase “Do you think that’s wise, sir?” His scepticism, although it was often ignored, was usually justified.

Many employees must be tempted to echo Sgt. Wilson on a daily basis when they see their bosses headed down the wrong track. But caution, for fear of appearing insubordinate or foolish and thus possibly at risk of losing their jobs, often leads workers to keep silent.

A culture of silence can be dangerous, argues a new book, “The Fearless Organisation”*, by Amy Edmondson, a professor at Harvard Business School. Some of her examples are from the airline industry. One was its deadliest accident: a crash between Boeing 747s in the Canary Islands in 1977 when a co-pilot felt unable to query his captain’s decision to take off based on a misunderstanding of instructions...

via Business Feeds

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