You know there’s a funny fact about mosquitoes…only the female variety of mosquito will bite you, while only the male mosquito makes an audible “buzz” when it flies. So the saying goes, it’s when you hear nothing that you should worry most.
We’re currently going through one of those transitory phases where change & uncertainty abound. Needless to say, the buzzing has begun in earnest and employees attack any vacuum of information by filling in the blanks with whatever information we can – gossip, conjecture, commiseration, some fact, some fiction. On any given day, the narrative may change as bits of information are acquired, interpreted, and factored into the commentary. And, as I’ve written before, the human default mindset during times like these is decidedly negative, so the “buzz” is fueled by fear, anxiety, and pessimism. It’s not a good place to be, emotionally speaking. Buzzzzzzzz…
But the buzzing does have its merits. When people talk, you can listen, respond, and maybe even alleviate their concerns. At the very least you can start to listen for common themes. It’s hearing nothing that should make you worry. Whether the silence is one of resistance, disagreement, disillusionment, or disengagement, you can’t address what you don’t know.
Why the silence? Many are coping in their own silent, invisible manner – including those who know they have the skillset to quickly and seamlessly find a newer, less volatile workplace. And remember, it’s the strongest swimmers who are the first to abandon a sinking ship.
So, as leaders, how do you keep your best hands on deck?
It’s not easy to rise above your own emotional response when faced with significant change. You can’t avoid or ignore your own coping process, but rise above the personal impact of uncertainty to make a collective impact on those around you. Do your best to keep the buzzing active – the alternative will bite you.