Are you a manager? Shut up!

Are you a manager? If so, shut up! Really, just shut up!

So many times I see managers that are eager to have their voice heard, it is ridiculous.

You should be the last one to speak.

You should not be afraid of the silence.

Just shut up.

Photo by Ricardo Mancía on Unsplash

Let me give you a few examples on why you should shut up.

“One on One” meetings

When you are doing a “one on one” meeting with someone in the team (you are doing those, right?), you should let them speak.

If they don’t speak, ask them to. Say something like: “What should we talk about today?”

If they still don’t speak, just shut up.

Someone will need to break the silence.

It can either be you but then you won’t know what’s really on their mind.

Or it can be them. Let it be them.

Shut up!

Team Meetings

I know what you are thinking: I can’t shut up. I have something really important to say. I am the smartest person in the room.

Just shut up.

Wait. Maybe someone else in your team will say the same thing you wanted to say; if that happens it is a good thing! You can follow up by: “Yea, I think so as well…”; it would make the person who spoke to feel proud of themselves. Win!

Maybe someone else will say something that contradicts your thinking.

They might not have said it after you’ve spoken, or at least they will have to gather more courage to speak up.

It’s a shame. Let them have the opportunity to speak their mind.

Shut up!

Group’s Q&A sessions

You are in some gathering. Someone is presenting a demo, or a project or a technical lecture.

In the end, they ask if there are any questions.

Silence. No one is asking anything.

You are a manager. I know what you are thinking: “I need to lead by example.”

Just shut up.

Let the silence fill the room. Let someone else break it.

The fact that you will ask a question probably won’t help since the intimidation people feel in these situations would not fade. They would just feel that only managers can ask (good) questions.

Shut up!

Mails

The team got a mail (you also got the mail) with some ask or request.

Even if you know the answer, don’t feel the need to answer right away. Just shut up.

Someone else will answer. Maybe they would be right, maybe they would be wrong. Either way, they have stepped up and you can give them feedback on that later.

But if you will answer, the team will get used to that and will not even think of answering next time.

Just shut up!

The bottom line

You are a manager. When you shut up, other people speak.

It allows people to rise to the occasion.

Just shut up!

Disclaimer: I’m a manager. Sometimes I forget to shut up.

I’m going to shut up now.