As a leader, you are an information gatekeeper in your organization. Sounds intense, doesn’t it? You know the financial situation, company updates, and potential opportunities far before your team does. But isn’t it important to be transparent as well? How do you know how much to share? What if your employees feel in the dark?
When it comes to transparency, it’s all about balance. By implementing a few key changes, you can find the equilibrium between confidentiality and transparency. Keep reading to learn our best tips for “having an open door”, with boundaries, in the workplace.
Communicate Your Standards
We tend to feel frustrated when we feel uninformed. Most issues in life could have been avoided if proper communication occurred beforehand. Go ahead and set parameters with your team, letting them know that you are an open-book when you can be, but also need an understanding that some information is not available for discussion. And if possible, let them know that even if something can’t be shared now, they can expect it to be communicated at a later date.
Provide Office Hours
While not everything can be shared with your team, a good amount can be. If you have a sizable team under you, consider holding bi-weekly/monthly “office hours” meetings where the team can send in their questions and hear from you on what they should expect. This demonstrates your transparency, as well as keeps a consistent and scheduled line of communication between you and your team. Be mindful, however, that you do need to prepare to answer questions in real time and you may not always have a positive answer. That is okay. Your team deserves as much transparency as you can offer, and sometimes that includes less-than-ideal information.
Remember, You’re the Leader
When you get down to it, you are the leader and are hierarchically placed above the team. That means, information will and should trickle to you much earlier than it should be shared with your team. You have the right to digest information, and decide when and how you will share. If you’re not ready to discuss a certain topic, feel empowered to give a kind, but firm, “that is confidential information right now”, and then move on. You have the absolute right to make that choice.
Debi is a coach to high performers, leaders and business owners wanting to achieve more and grow beyond what they believe is possible. Known for her clarifying insight and a pragmatic approach, Debi brings her clients to the next step by asking the right questions during strategy development and supporting them during strategy implementation. With experience in management, recruitment and employee development for various industries, she has a wide scope of expertise and will confidently guide you towards a successful future in your career.
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