Do You Feel Silenced at Work? 

For this article by Jo Ilfeld, Executive Leadership Coach on being silenced at work, the image shows a woman with her eyes over her face in front of a laptop.

Do you feel silenced at work?

Silenced by your boss, peers, or even direct reports? Even when you’re an accomplished professional, at the top of your field, you can still end up feeling silenced by the people around you.

Perhaps you don’t feel this way, but it’s my hunch that someone who is working with you is not feeling heard or thoughtfully responded to.

Can you identify that person? How can you be an ally to that person?

Here are 3 things you can do to help their voice be heard:

  • Amplification – if someone says something in a meeting, take it on and refer back to that person, for example, “I’m so glad Jo mentioned that this is really important and I think we should focus on it.”
  • Bring side conversations that you have with that person into the meeting, with their permission, of course, and with a mention of their name.
  • Offer an understanding ear by telling them that you miss hearing their voice in meetings, that you really value what they have to say, and that you want to know if there is any way that you can help them bring their voice more into the workplace and help them problem solve.

Think about who might be silenced at work inside your organization and see if you can find a way to be helpful to them.

Learn more about amplifying voices on your team.

Jo Ilfeld, PhD

An executive leadership coach, Jo helps C-suite leaders, executives, and high-potential managers develop the flexibility, skill, and frame of mind to meet the challenges of the next five, ten, twenty years…. and beyond. She works with individuals, teams and organizations on four core areas of leadership development. Check out Jo's bio page for more information.


  1. Amy on September 12, 2023 at 9:36 am

    “Do you feel silenced at work?” Here are 3 things someone ELSE can do to help you. This article is not for people who are silenced, it’s for others around them. I feel even MORE silenced after reading this article and realizing that no one does these things for me. Perhaps you should retitle this to “Does your coworker feel silenced at work”

    • Jo Ilfeld on September 15, 2023 at 3:54 pm

      That’s a great point Amy! I didn’t think about it in that way although I do believe that one of the best ways to cut through being silenced is to help lift up others voices. It usually creates a mutual appreciation circle which does uplift your voice in the end. But I get how in the beginning it might feel like you’re the only one doing it.

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