Saturday, December 31st, 2016
USE THE POWER OF SILENCE
Everything in your position of CEO carries the extra power of the authority of your role. Like it or not, use it or not, this is the truth.
I’m suggesting that you forget to use the power of your silence.
One of the best CEO’s I worked with and the most in touch with the company used silence well. He (happens to be a man) entered an office said hello and waited–often a bit too long to be comfortable. And out poured all kinds of information and worry and options and gossip as he quietly listened and asked very gently very general questions. He didn’t over guide the conversation or say much himself.
When angry, another CEO I know would get quieter and quieter in a top meeting. He would let the conflict or irritation grow and get resolved without him saying a word. Somewhere along the line, it would be noticed that he was not longer engaged. And the direct reports would shape up and get the matter taken care of.
The best use of silence I witnessed was with a very introverted CEO having to handle a very volatile issue. He was not good at spontaneous response. I set up a town meeting about the topic. The rule was the CEO was there to only listen.
There were 500 people at the meeting. The CEO committed to listening until there was no one else wanting to speak. People came up to the mike for over three hours. All the CEO said was, “Thank you. I want to hear this.” ” Thank you this better informs me.” He (yep, another man) got a standing ovation at the finish of the meeting and the volatility eased and the right solution was found.
Finding silence is essential for top leaders and most have a method.
The car is one of the most preferred whether self driven or with a driver.
A conference room with no windows is another.
Silence is powerful. Use it more consciously