Workplace: Keep a Lid on It

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Workplace: covers the issues and activities of managing the moments of our day-to-day business lives. Momentum was my four-year radio program on the same topic and five of my seven books speak to daily business skills. Let’s explore what affects us every day (or some days) that we go to work.[/author_info] [/author]

Have you heard anyone say: “Keep a lid on it”? Or, have you ever said “keep a lid on it” when you wanted someone to keep a secret or to be quiet? While the phrasing may seem dated, its meaning still gets expressed daily. There are times when not speaking (keeping a lid on it) is the wiser choice.

There are times we need to calm a conflict, or to reflect on a situation, and keeping quiet oneself makes sense. Sometimes inviting others to be quiet, or to take a break in the meeting, is the best way to make progress toward problem solving. In the quiet of a break or a commute, we can reflect on what our day most needs from us. In a silent moment, we can gather thoughts to voice that which will improve a situation or a relationship.

Five years ago, I realized that I had been “keeping a lid on it” and not feeling good about several situations. The telltale sign was that at home I discovered I had collected over one-hundred lids. Lids from markers, juice bottles, and containers of all sorts and sizes. At the time, I had in mind some teen leadership workshop activities that would consume the lids. In hindsight, I think my lid-saving was a metaphor for all the things I was not speaking up about, not asking for help with, and not feeling good about. Once I rediscovered the lid stash and this metaphor, I took a photo and discarded the lids.

Lesson learned. Keeping a lid on things that need to be spoken is not helpful. Avoidance, bottling, stuffing – none of these solve problems. While some problems cannot be solved or even influenced by us, the ones that can need our suggestions, ideas, and guidance; they need us to speak up.

Identify where you are keeping a lid on things. Recognize that there are times when being quiet, is not the right thing to do for your health, or for the good of a situation. And recognize when keeping a lid on something is timely and helpful. Taking the lid off, can help you solve problems, address rough spots, and can help you and the team make progress.

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