Leadership, how are you at sharing?

I often run into people who lead teams or serve in director or key leader roles that don’t share critical information with others. When in meetings, they appear helpful, contribute to the conversation, offer ideas and feedback. Everything appears great until you look deeper. They hold back critical or key information on a regular basis. This leaves them feeling squarely in control of peers and subordinates. In some cases this is intentional. In others it isn’t. It is just a bad habit.

banker distressedThe problem is that whether intentional or not, this behavior hurts the company and the entire team. Not armed with all of the facts, decisions made may not be the best. When team members know they are missing critical information, they will have to take time to research the information needed, wasting extra time unnecessarily. Projects take longer, poor or ineffective decisions may be made, and ultimately teamwork suffers as trust is withdrawn when team members find out that critical information was withheld.

Just the other day, as I was working on a project with a team, I realized that there was vital information that I had not shared. I just hadn’t taken the time to ask myself who needed to know this information. Once I took the time to analyze who might find the information helpful, I quickly shared it and heard immediately from team members how much they appreciated these new insights.

If YOU are the one withholding information:

1. Putting others and their needs first will help you gain more credibility and loyalty than holding out. Give it a try with a few of your team members and watch their self-confidence blossom, the quality of their work improve, and the enthusiasm for their job increase. Again, these are your team members. A more happy and successful team can only benefit you. Stop holding out!

2. Obtaining vital information for your company or team is a great thing…..but only if it is shared with the right people. Having people view you as a great source of information or as a parter who is watching out for their needs increases partner loyalty. Having your peers or senior leaders view you as a helpful team member can only help your career. What benefit does hoarding the information provide? Stop hoarding and share!

Two ways to help your team learn to share:

  1. Set the example by posting critical information on your shared drive, making it easy for team members to find. Even send them a link to the information.
  2. Develop an Intranet that allows you to post information vital to a project. Help develop a new way of sharing information vital to your team or project. Teach others how to do the same.

What to do when others don’t share with you:

  1. Ask them why that have not shared the vital information. It is possible that they didn’t know you needed it. Don’t assume it is intentional. Let them know the kind of information that would be helpful for you.
  2. Be on the lookout for information that they might find helpful. Openly share it with them and let them know that you would appreciate the same from them. Give before you get. You will be amazed at the good will that you can create is just a short time.
  3. In meetings, make it a habit to ask what critical information is needed to help your projects succeed. Find out who has this information and ask them share it with the team or volunteer to do some research and readily provide it for the entire team.

By setting a good example, looking out for others needs first, you can build trust and teamwork amongst pears and subordinates. As you model the behaviors you want to see in others things will change quickly for the good.

If you want to improve the information flow in your business, start by setting the right example and openly sharing vital information. Think about others first. Then call Visible Progress to get help improving your groups Teamwork skills.