At some point in our lives, we’ve all done it. We go silent. In this case, I don’t mean a silent partner of the investment kind.
You become a silent partner by withholding communication. Perhaps you don’t know what to say or how to say it. You don’t have an update. You’re embarrassed. You don’t know how to say no. You feel bad, don’t want to look bad, or make up some story about what another person said to make you feel whatever way you’re feeling.
It might look like not responding to someone’s emails, phone calls or texts. You say you’ll call then don’t show up for a scheduled appointment. You don’t communicate until the last minute. You send cryptic messages through email that don’t get to the heart of the matter convincing yourself that you’re following up. You hold back because you’re afraid. You tell everyone else, except directly with the person you’re withholding.
In that moment, what’s missing? Your power.
-Your power to clean up whatever happened and start fresh.
– Your power to take responsibility and insightfully own your part.
– Your power to create something remarkable.
You might think being silent is taking control but it’s an illusion. Research has shown that silent treatments in any relationship lead to dissatisfaction, disconnection, and poor outcomes.
The reality is when you withhold, you’ve given up your power to create a new opportunity, an extraordinary result, or clear the air. Sometimes it’s a habit to be broken if you want your business relationships, any relationship really, to thrive.
The other person feels it. They know something is off.
In my 30 years in mentoring others, I’ve discovered that often a person’s natural wiring gets pinged. If you are wired as an internal thinker, you may decide it’s easier to be silent than try to fumble through how you’re really feeling. Perhaps you subscribe to the mantra that no news is good news and don’t communicate.
If you’re wired as an external thinker, yet, are withholding from sharing your thoughts or ideas because you don’t want to look bad, there’s a loss of power. Perhaps you withhold because you don’t feel appreciated or acknowledged.
Either way you’re wired, there is a consequence when choosing to be silent. Opportunity exists and is created through communication.
More importantly, have you also considered how the other person is being impacted when you don’t show up powerfully? Have you considered that you are not allowing them to grow by withholding? Have you considered the ripple effect for them and the people in their lives?
You never know what new opportunity, pathway, or idea could be developed when you communicate. Where in your life have you been holding back? Call up the person and have a conversation.
When you call them, try using this framework:
1. Set aside a private time. Start the conversation by asking if they have a minute to talk or schedule a time.
2. Acknowledge the role you’re playing in the silent treatment. Let them know you’ve been withholding something that you would like to share with them. Start by the word using I. I have been withholding ______. I felt______.
3. Share what you would like to create with them. “What I would like to create with you is ______”; or “Is it possible if we ______”; or “Would you be open to______?”
As a business owner, the more you exercise this leadership muscle, the more opportunities you create in all areas of your life. You never know the infinite alternatives that are available, unless you stop the silent treatment.
Communicating may not always be comfortable. Be comfortably uncomfortable anyway. Your ability to scale your business and live a desired life depends on it.