Start being transparent right now. Do not keep your employees in the dark. Don’t expect them to be engaged and innovative if you constrain them to a need-to-know basis? Stop it. No. Just drop it. Kill it.
I can’t count how many times I have had this conversation with my supervisors and other leaders. “Boss, you need to let us know what you’re thinking, what is your plan for us” – I recall myself saying. I mean think about it, do you really expect your people will overwhelm you with their creativity if all they can see is the task in front of them instead of the big picture? It’s obvious the answer is no. However, I find that even the best leaders make this mistake repeatedly. To drive the point home Simon Sinek has an excellent chair analogy for you.
But why would you make this mistake in the first place? There are several reasons. Either you:
That last point deserves special attention as it is too goddamn common. I get it, your intentions are in the right place. No sense dumping everything on a guy on his first day. But this often goes beyond the first day, right? You have your master plan in your head and you know exactly where you’re going. You may think that it’s enough, that the captain knows the course and the crew just needs to obey, correct? No. They need to know what you do. They need to see the vision that you see. When they do, they will claim it as their own and work their asses off to see it fulfilled just as you.
And think about it. What’s the worst that could happen? They will have too much information? Well, it’s better to have too much than not enough. Besides, you hired or picked them because you thought they were smart. So why not give them some credit and have some faith that they will able to figure it out and put all of the pieces in the right place. If you’re still worried that this may be too much, then take a moment to plan it out. Have a schedule of what information is shared and when. Just make sure you don’t overextend the process and be ready to improvise as needed.
In short, if you ask your people to walk through a dark room, filled with furniture, they will come out bruised and wishing you to go to hell. However, if you hit the light you will see them avoiding all obstacles gracefully. So go ahead, be the leader they want you to be and hit the switch!
Be sure to practice your leadership skills on our WARBAND worhshop.