TrekAcademy


Lesson 069: Management encouraging open discussion
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 2/2 ('Where Silence has Lease')

[Scene]

The Enterprise encounters a dark void in space which registers no energy or matter. Worf suggests going to Yellow Alert immediately. Capt. Picard, curious about Worf's reaction, inquires why Worf made that recommendation. Worf pauses and does not answer.

Seeing Worf's hesitation, Capt. Picard tells Worf that the ship operates best when its officers share what is on their mind. Worf replies that his reaction was based on an old Klingon legend which talks of such a dark space creature that devours entire space vessels.

Worf admits that he believed such thoughts were not worthy of a trained starship security officer and that's why he didn't want to mention it.

[Lesson]

The hesitation of people to speak up in a public forum can have its roots in multiple reasons, from being embarrassed, to facing retribution, to disclosing ignorance, or to even just plain shyness.

In organizations, and especially in meetings, it becomes the duty of the leadership to encourage everyone to be expressive and to contribute to the process, no matter how trivial they may feel their item to be.

By the leadership clearly stating that all input received will always be evaluated with proper care and respect, many of the fears of expressing oneself in public are greatly diminished.

For those who have opinions and are still reluctant to express themselves, it is worthwhile to mention that issues that go unaddressed may lie dormant and not surface until too late. One word or one question heard today may proactively stave off a disaster later.

It also helps to underscore that it is usually the questions and issues that go unattended which can escalate into problems later, finally surfacing issues not from within, but rather from clients.

Capt. Picard's comments on a ship's best performance being derived from the shared thoughts of its crew and officers easily translate to fit the functions of an organization and its staff and management.

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