Elephant in the room meaning, definition, examples, origin, synonyms

The dreaded “elephant in the room” – those conversations that should happen, but most of the time vày not. Or, as explained by definition:

“A major problem or controversial issue that is obviously present but avoided as a subject for discussion because it is more comfortable lớn bởi vì so.”

There are many reason why these conversations to address the “elephant” never happen:

Fear – that bringing it up could cost you credibility or your jobComfort – that it’s easier to not make waves và just work around the problemUnderestimation – not realizing that the situation has bigger ramifications than one realizesApathy – not caring enough lớn address (“It’s not my problem.”)

By not having the tough conversation about the situation, the following fallout usually happens:

Fear culture persistsPeople gain undue và unchecked power & influence (colleagues, managers, shareholders, etc.)Decline in productivity, efficiencies, and other metrics leading lớn declining performance overallDisengagement due khổng lồ low morale & discontentment

In never addressing the “elephant in the room” a general uneasiness & untrustworthy environment settles in that can wreak havoc throughout the organization.

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It’s imperative that any conversation that needs lớn be had khổng lồ address those “elephants” occurs. In order to break the silence and overcome the anxiety to lớn have straight talk, you should use these following guidelines to get the discussion out in the open:

Resolve not khổng lồ be remiss. Omitting an issue causes more harm than good always. Purpose khổng lồ start the discussion by knowing that you owe it to lớn others to lớn bring this topic khổng lồ the forefront.Foster professionalism. How you approach the conversation can ease the tension. Anger, outrage, and other non-professional conduct can greatly hamper the effectiveness of the discussion. Be calm & mix everyone else at ease.Make it constructive. Make it clear that you want lớn have a working dialogue about the issue at hvà. Set the expectations early khổng lồ get the most out of the talk and allow everyone opportunity for input.Be objective sầu. This can be tricky, especially when items such as harassment or bullying come inlớn play. But having as much facts to lớn baông xã up what is being discussed can solidify the validity of the issue & not leave room for people to shrug it off.

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Find other audiences. Sometimes the people that need to lớn hear the message are the least receptive sầu. By finding others who mô tả the same opinion about the issue will make it not about you but about the issue và how much it impacts others.Create a dialogue. Get as many others talking about it as possible in the discussions. It is important khổng lồ also note that these talks may not be just once & over with. Constructive issue resolving may take multiple discussions lớn reach understanding & solutions. Keep it open at all times.Get actionable steps. Have those involved, including you, take responsibility for a portion of the solution. Some people may have khổng lồ take full ownership for their actions as no one else can. Others may need to help with processes, checks, and balances. Everyone at least needs to work on fostering a culture of open talk without fear or apathy. Make sure those steps are being taken seriously and followed through.

Elephants in the room are not pleasant beasts. They need to lớn be herded out và having everyone skirt around the issue only makes matters worse. Your culture may not be conducive to talking openly, but it only takes one person và some of the suggestions above sầu lớn start changing that in your organization.

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Paul LaRue is the creator of The UPwards Leader & Instigator for Lead Change Group. His background in senior leadership, strategic planning, culture change, và people & organizational development gives hyên chất lượng insight into lớn the workings of successful organizations. Paul has given speeches & training sessions for many public and private entities and stresses the virtue of a culture that centers around core values & character in leadership.


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