Help! Am I sharing it with my co-workers?
I am the boss of a medium-sized workplace and I love my colleagues. It worries me, however, to tell too many sometimes. I usually wear a heart sleeve. Am I doing the wrong thing when I’m not incredibly discreet?
The funniest questions for a columnist advisor or at least this a columnist advisor, they are super-specific situations that I can’t relate to at all. Sneaking into your office? A colleague taking credit for a newsletter you wrote? I’ve never experienced these scenarios and I have very strong feelings for them, which is a good recipe for cosplaying as an expert and rowing on the internet! The critical distance created by the unknown can be very helpful in formulating thoughts that may be useful to other people. When I lose that, I’m afraid I’ll end up working on my issues on the WIRED.com website, rather than in a therapist’s office, in the appropriate places.
This, California, is the complete opposite of a situation I can’t relate to. This question is how to manage it best, how to be a good colleague, how to be a good person at the heart of all the uncertainties in the world. This question turned me on three nights when you sent me this question. I hate this question because it’s my question and I can’t do cosplay in a convincing way as an expert, so I have no choice but to appear as a confused idiot who is making up everything as I go along. (All correct past / present / future reports, stop reading now.)
With the approval of my degrees, let’s dive in. After reading your question more than once and then discussing it with the number of friends who are leaders, I feel confident that you have a chance to lead: you are a very good manager. Employers who are prone to honesty and are aware enough to worry about how they affect their people are rare, and your employees are lucky.
Transparency and emotional openness are strengths, but of course they should be used with caution. And none of us will achieve a good balance all the time. Thinking about it critically (obsessed?) Is the only way to keep your battles average, so you’re doing great.
You’re not saying there’s any special kind of information that you feel bad about sharing, please, please, wait a minute … while I get back to you. As much as I thought he was a “horrible liar” and “completely poker-free,” I don’t have much of a chance when it comes to being honest in my relationships. But like you, I do go too far from time to time and share your concerns. Everyone says they prefer transparency to the principal, but not all information is the same, and some can be destructive rather than helpful.
I guess, like me, your stress will often come up when discussing whether or not to reveal information about the chaos that occurs above your employees ’salary grades. Suppose you are struggling your A leader about changes that can affect the people who report you (a completely hypothetical situation that I don’t have direct experience). You don’t think it’s very good to hide things from employees by being blinded by doing so, but you also want to protect them from early panic. I think the key question is why you want to share information. Will your people benefit from knowing? Will it help them make better-informed decisions or prepare something in line? Or will it relieve you of your stress to the detriment of their own self-confidence? It’s the times when I regret being honest that I’m doing my catharsis, no matter how it affects the person I’m talking to.
This is difficult, however, if you have multiple live reports, as each will react differently to new information. I’ve worked with some people who do their best when they know exactly how sausage is made, and some who pay too much attention to handling anything that isn’t on the rocks. Offices are gossipy places, so reports that worry you less will almost always return to more troubling ones. This gives you a chance to play while you play with your favorites as it creates more anxiety. So think carefully about which version of the story you like everyone knowing and adapting according to your delivery.