No one likes that feeling of being the last to know important information — or being left entirely out of the loop — yet somehow managers and organizational higher-ups often seem to forget this when it comes to communicating with employees. The result of this forgetfulness and the resulting communication gap, as one Mountain State University Leadertalk blogger writes, is workers who feel “disappointed, disillusioned and distraught.”
That’s not a good thing, and it’s definitely not a way to get the best performance out of your employees. My philosophy is that unless there is a good reason why people shouldn’t be told about something, then they need to be told. When you are open about what’s happening in the workplace, people can focus on their work and not fret about what’s going on behind their backs.
In my management experience, I’ve found that sharing information also helps employees to understand and be better able to support, or at least accept, actions from above. Several years ago, when I was a supervisor to dozens of counselors at a large summer camp, we had a rough time with staff members behaving in a variety of inappropriate and immature ways — not shocking considering the workforce was made up of college students on summer vacation. Although, the bad behavior was coming from a minority of the staff members, my fellow supervisors and I had to enforce tougher rules for the entire camp.
The following summer, we had a calmer, more mature staff in place and were able to relax the rules. One of the counselors who I supervised both years came up to me and told me — in a less G-rated manner — that she thought I wasn’t a very nice leader the previous year, but had come to see that I was just doing what I had to do to keep things under control and found she liked me a lot.
I was OK with that because I know that sometimes doing your job as a manager means making yourself unpopular with some people. What I learned, though, was that more communication about why we were so strict the first summer might have gained me and my fellow supervisors support from the good staff members and help in bringing the not-so-good staff members around.
Do you keep your employees in the loop? If so, how has it helped you? If not, how has it hurt you?
Image credit, khz via iStock