How much information should a leader really share with employees? Some bosses are like Col. Jessup played by Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men in thinking their employees “can’t handle the truth.”
Communication continues to be cited as a problem in nearly all organizations. Solving communication problems is kind of like finding a cure for the common cold. Instead of fixing it, we put up with the symptoms.
One of our clients measured the time it took for a juicy rumor to spread from the front office to the shipping dock. 20 minutes! And yet at the same time it can take months or years to deliver key management messages.
An organization with an over active grapevine tends to be one where the official lines of communication are either overly controlled or not plentiful enough in their sharing.
Many managers, supervisors and executives are overly guarded in what they communicate. Either this is because the manager feels it unnecessary to share information or thinks that employees need not concerns themselves with information seemingly irrelevant to their specific job function. Certainly leaders do need to be cautious when musing about what might happen down the road. However, when it comes to discussing present-day facts and past performance we encourage over communication. Employees have such a desire to know what is going on they will make up information if management isn’t communicating enough.
Putting the Ideas into Action