So many times existing leaders tell me they are unable to engage in
conversations with the people who report to them because they consider
the information that would need to be shared is private and confidential
and it would not be professional to engage in such a conversation.
Instead the information is withheld and the decision is made by the
existing leader regardless of input from the people who report to them.
Then, when the time is right the decision is handed down together with
the information and these direct reports are tasked with implementing
the decision. How disempowering is this? What does this say about the
level of trust existing leaders have with the people who report to them?
I can recall getting into dreadful trouble when I was a partner in a
professional service firm and used to receive big envelopes that were
sealed with a sticker that said “For Partners Eyes Only” and I was
spotted sharing the contents with my team members.
People want to feel included, they want to feel significant, they want
to feel like they belong and ultimately value being trusted. So I
believe existing leaders need to stop using excuses for not telling
people about what is really happening and instead – tell them the truth.
Talking to a colleague not so long ago they shared how the owners of the
business he was a member of, were selling to a large global corporation
and they chose to keep it confidential and private and did not share
with any of the staff. However one of the staff members in Australia
had a brother who worked in the global organisation and before you knew
it the staff of the business being sold talked about future prospects
way before the owners chose to share what was actually happening with
them. What message does this send to the staff? How much time and energy
was wasted in predicting outcomes and being fearful about the future?
Technology has empowered information sharing and transparency so it is
increasingly difficult to keep things confidential – and you need to ask
what is the point and what message is it sending?
Courageous Leaders are open, real and completely transparent and
encourage the same behavioural responses. This constructive behaviour
creates sustainable high performance for individuals, teams and the