The Power of Silence in the Workplace

January 9, 20201:52 pm3886 views
The Power of Silence in the Workplace
The Power of Silence in the Workplace
“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.” – Leonardo da Vinci


Sound has been part of our life. Be it the faint sound of the air conditioner in your office, the noise of your coworkers chattering, the Ding! coming from your phone notification, or the YouTube videos that you’re watching, all of them produces sounds. But can you imagine what happens when the workplace is in complete silence? 

The psychology behind silence 

The absence of sound in the workplace might indicate loneliness, tiredness, burn out, stress, isolation, or awkwardness. Yet, there are some studies that prove silence can be more powerful than you might think. 

Peter Gollwitzer, professor of psychology, published a study on the correlation between silence and achievements. In his study, Gollwitzer analysed four different tests of 63 people. The result revealed that those who secretly pursued their goals have better achievement than those who published their goals. According to Gollwitzer, when you tell people about your goals, it makes you less likely to actually achieve them.

See also: All By Yourself: How to Combat Loneliness in the Workplace

When you tell people about what you intend to do, it gives you a premature sense of completeness, added Gollwitzer. Talking create symbols in your brain that satisfies the brain enough, thus, the brain neglects the pursuit of further symbols. In other words, your brain has tricked you to feel the act of satisfaction which makes you less motivated to actually reach the goals. 

From this study, we learn that silence can help employees attain better success and achieve their goals. When employees are indulged in their moment of silence, they can have better self-engagement which lead to productivity booster. Individuals who spend less time talking at the workplace accomplish more and might feel less stressed by the end of the week. 

Silence and engagement  

Whether it is in a meeting or small group discussion, try to have a moment of silence for yourself and listen. 

Silence during a speech or meeting can engage the audience better. Andrii Sedniev advised that it is important for leaders or managers to pause within the first few seconds of their speech. Doing this help audiences – in this case, your employees – prepare their ear to listen better. Audiences will also place more attention to your talk when you put a sense of curiosity by taking a moment of silence. 

Silence also helps place more importance in what you want to convey. According to Barry Kayton, being quiet in an argument does not mean that you are lost. Instead, your silence is associated with observation and attentive listening until your conclusion can prove the other group wrong. 

Silence and work satisfaction 

Silence can also usher us to be more satisfied in our life, Lehmann wrote. Observing silence in the classroom and therapy session, Lehmann found that being quiet can reveal more which leads to satisfaction. The subject students become uncomfortable at first, however, after a few minutes of silence, Lehmann asked the subjects about how they feel. Some wrote they were disappointed and it was annoying to deal with their own thoughts. But at the same time, they also felt highly satisfied with Lehmann’s teaching. The students experienced their discomfort as useful and good. 

Lehmann study implies that if employees can cultivate a world of silence in the right way, there is a huge chance that they will feel way better towards their job. In fact, if we listen carefully, silence can help make one person’s life more fulfilling and more complete. This is not about breaking the tension of silence, Lehmann added, it is about paying attention to the tension that silence creates. This is where “the silence is golden” lies. 

Read also: Does Giving Employee a Day to Disconnect “Really” Improve Productivity?

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