There are Filipinos who are afraid to speak up, especially in the workplace. One of the cultures of Filipino is finding it hard to say no to others. Because of this, they keep on agreeing and saying yes. During social intercourse, using the word yes is one of the root causes of frustration. They find it difficult to say no in their desire to please many Filipinos. Because of that, they would say yes (rough guides). Is it really OK to say ‘yes’ even if your answer is ‘maybe’ or ‘no’?
The word reluctant from Cambridge Dictionary means ‘not wanting/willing to do something and therefore slow to do it’. In most common Filipinos who have difficulty expressing their feelings, it only shows that during the conversation they will be reluctant to say what they truly feel and instead, they will just say yes in order to please others.
I have friends who are working in local companies here in the Philippines who are very afraid to use their vacation leave because they are afraid to speak with their managers. Vacation leave is given to every employee to use when they need it. But my friends, even skipped their family reunions or friend gathering because they can’t use their holidays. That leaves me a question there; does their company don’t approve their leave or they didn’t even ask their managers?
Among many Filipino, saying ‘no’ is a very hard thing to do. Even I find it difficult at times. But when I started working in the BPO industry, I started communicating with the VP of Talent Acquisition and our CEO without any sweat. Unlike when I was working with Filipino managers, they are very accommodating and always direct to the point. I used to stutter when I speak with managers, but now after working in this industry for over one year, it helped me improve my confidence and communication.
It is important to me to get deeper into this study into why employees of local companies here in the Philippines are reluctant to say something. In a matter of fact, changing ideas within organisations strengthened and improved the company. Managers should encourage their team members to speak up and help the organisation improve by telling others what they notice.
Thank you so much for getting through this blog. Before I finish, I would like to leave you a few questions that you would think very deeply about after this. When you first started working, are you the type of person who would tell your colleagues about your idea just to deliver it to the team or the person who would boldly speak up about your ideas? Do you have difficulties asking your managers about something that might help you or your team improve? Or are you reluctant to speak up in front of other people?
I am happy to share this quote from Winston Churchill: ‘Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.’
Darrell H. Dingco is a master’s degree student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.