Knowledge is power but the problem is too many people abuse that power. Spidey said “with great power comes great responsibility.” I’m pretty sure wherever he is, Spidey is reading this series on the Leadership Principles just like you are. You can be a super-hero just like him. As a leader in your organization, you are privy to a ton of information which in turn gives you a great deal of power. Unfortunately, many so-called leaders fail to share information and either knowingly or unknowingly abuse the trusted position they occupy.
Does your boss ever act like James Bond? They go into a meeting with mucka mucks above them (search the blog for the technical definition of mucka mucks). They come out of the meeting and everyone is wondering what’s going on. You wait all day to get an update and come 5PM, they disappear into the night (it’s getting dark pretty early these days – curse you daylight savings time!). Their Bond persona kicks in and they act as if the information they’ve been given is for their eyes only and divulging it would put the security of the UK at risk. (Note: I asked my twitter followers to pick the best bond – the vote was split between Craig and Connery hence the pic. Follow me on twitter – it’s fun!).
How do you feel not knowing what’s going on? It’s unnerving. Annoying. Such behavior plants the seeds of poisonous gossip. If people don’t know what’s going on, they’ll make something up, won’t they? So let’s put the flip-flops of subversion on your feet, get into your team members’ heads and see how you can prevent your people from experiencing the same frustration.
The basic premise to follow here is that they know what you know. Sure, some things are confidential and cannot be shared (mergers, compensation decisions, your favorite Lucky Charms marshmallow) but the vast majority of daily events can be explained to your team.
The more context you provide your folks, the more effectively they’ll perform. Why?
– First, it keeps them from wasting time gossiping and hypothesizing about what’s going on and filling their information void. That time will now be used for more productive pursuits.
– Second, when they have full context, they can make better decisions and provide more robust ideas (ever tried to solve an algebra problem where 80% of the information was missing?).
– Third, and most importantly, sharing information with your team enhances trust. They know you’re shooting straight with them. They know you trust them with important information. When trust flows from you, it eventually flows back to you.
As much as you’d like to think you are, you’re not a super-spy. Turn in your Bond Underoos before you head into the office and build trust in yourself as a leader by letting your team in on what’s going on. They’ll appreciate it and do a much better job for you in the end.
Do your leaders let you in on the scoop? Or do they treat you like a mushroom (keep you in the dark and feed you a lot of manure)? What’s going on out there? Thoughts please…
– Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC