Executives Are Not Told About The Problems
Another important piece of research concerns “the Mum Effect”. The Mum Effect is the hesitation that most people have to deliver bad news to others.
The Mum Effect happens because people don’t want to deal with the negative emotion it provokes in the receiver. It also happens because of the “shoot the messenger” problem (and this is especially important inside organizations, where power dynamics are at play). Bearers of bad news, even when they aren’t responsible for it in any sense, tend to be blamed and to have negative feelings directed toward them. The result is the “Mum Effect”, where subordinates with good survival instincts soften bad news to make it sound better, or avoid passing it along to their bosses at all.
So, can we blame the executives for not knowing about the problems, when the executives are not told about them by their employees?
I think both employees and managers are to blame.
Can We Connect Employees And Executives?
The responsibility for connecting employees and executives to each other lies with both parties..
Executives need to establish a work environment, where you get praised for sharing bad news – and where executives listen to the employees without prejudices. It is perfectly alright that executives cannot engage in conversations with all their employees. Everybody accepts that.
Psychologically it is enough to give employees a sense of influence. This can be done by asking employees, who they would like to be their representatives in the conversations with the Executives. The voice of the people, we often nickname them.
Many of our clients in Innovisor have identified the 3% of employees that impact up to 90% of their colleagues within their organization , and then established trustful two way communication channels between the top executives and these employees. Good examples of these two way channels include regular fireside chats and brownbag lunches.
Employees on the other hand need to stop hiding their observations, perceptions and feelings, when they are asked by the executives. They should tell it like it is!
I Am Optimistic!