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"Silence does not equal consent" Lessons for Living, by Dr Neil Thompson

Life is never without its challenge, but there is always the opportunity to learn and grow from those demands made on us. Dr Neil Thompson offers advice to tackle these problems and help social workers and care professionals to realise their potential.

11/01/21

"Silence does not equal consent" Lessons for Living, by Dr Neil Thompson

This is a mistake I made many times early in my career: making a suggestion or proposal, having no one object to it and then assuming that the lack of explicit objection constituted agreement to what I had put forward.

I then had the unpleasant experience of watching my plans fall apart as people did not cooperate with them or play their part in moving things forward – or even, on some occasions, actively sabotaged what I was trying to do.

It only slowly became apparent to me that they were never really ‘on board’ in terms of what I had proposed but, for whatever reason, had chosen not to voice their disagreement.

So, there is a very important lesson in this: we cannot assume that silence equals consent. A lack of explicit disagreement is not the same as agreement.

So, if we are relying on others to bring our plans to fruition, we need to make the effort to ensure that they are genuinely in agreement and make it clear that if they are not, they should say so.

Dr Neil Thompson is an independent writer, educator and adviser.

His website is www.NeilThompson.info.

Connect with him online via @drneilthompson.

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