Why employees may not bring problems to management

Satyajit Rout
2 min readNov 25, 2022

From every day, every solution, every change, problems emerge in business.

The best organizations have an in-built alarm system to call for attention. The trigger for such a system is not defined because it is the employees’ intuition and judgment that decide what merits attention.

But what if employees don’t sound the alarm?

Imagine if nurses and pilots don’t report the first signs of trouble. Lives would be lost. Much the same way, livelihoods are lost when problems don’t get flagged to management.

Photo by Arash Asghari on Unsplash

Here are some reasons why employees may choose to stay silent:

👉They think they can solve the problem themselves with a little bit more time or thought or both. They don’t want to be seen as incapable or incompetent for bringing up something solvable.

👉They think they should not bring a problem to management if they don’t also have a solution for it.

👉They see the problem in isolation and they don’t recognize the pattern it is a part of. So they may peg the problem as not serious.

👉They feel management has reached consensus on an issue and bringing up a non-consensus view closer to showtime may cast them as a troublemaker.

👉They have highlighted problems in the past and nothing has come of it. They are desensitized.

👉They don’t care.

Not all tripwires are planned and set up in advance. The most effective ones are hazy. Because they emerge from the everyday judgment and sense of safety of employees.

Founders, HR professionals, managers, and leaders: let me know how you get your team and employees to be captains who call out icebergs.



Satyajit Rout

I write about decision-making, mental models, and better thinking and things in between