What’s on your mind? What’s happening? Share an update! These are the first words you see every time you log into Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. All of them ask you to share your life with the world one post, one tweet and one snap at a time.
We live in a world that thrives on TMI (too much information). Can you imagine a life where everyone communicates just the right amount of information?
It’s a very subjective thing. Let’s say I listen to someone talk about their relationship woes on their YouTube channel - to me it might be great information that I can learn from or something I find entertaining but to my mom it might seem like TMI or like the person is their washing dirty laundry in public.
So now we end up carrying this outlook into the workplace.
When we look at our leaders we don’t want them to share TMI but all of us want a leader that we can relate to. We like to see our leaders as human and want to know that they have gone through similar emotions / life events that we have. This makes leaders more relatable.
If you are a team leader - you are probably wondering
“ So how do I share enough to be relatable and not too much to be resented?”
Here is how.
Remember, your primary role as a people leader / team manager is to inspire your team to action by removing roadblocks and distractions.
Ask yourself the following questions before sharing anything with your team.
1. Why are you sharing this information with your team?
Be honest with yourself here. If it’s because you need to take the weight off your chest or want to lessen your stress - that’s not an acceptable reason. As a people leader you are expected to handle more stress and ambiguity and act as a shield between the external pressure and your team, thereby creating an environment where your team can be productive. In my time as an HR business partner I have witnessed times when team leaders, in the name of transparency, share angst with their team!
2. How does this information help/ empower my team?
Does the information help my team plan and make more informed decisions, or is this something that’s going to cause confusion and stress about prioritization? Does the information help the team understand the importance of their contributions? If not, no need to share.
3. What positive action does this information inspire?
Does the information help the team get clarity, feel motivated, help them learn, show them the light at the end of the tunnel, feel appreciated, help them focus on things that are in their control? Great- the information is absolutely worth sharing. If you are still wondering what positive action it inspires- it’s not worth sharing.
Understanding the fine line between transparency and TMI is what differentiates great leaders!
What you communicate is important- how you communicate it determines how the information is received.
As a leadership coach I advise team leaders to communicate face to face with your team or through video as frequently as possible.
Here is why.
When we converse, we want to see the other person’s facial expressions. We want eye contact. We read body language and catch nonverbal cues. We want to evaluate whether someone is acting or being genuine. The more genuine we feel the person is - the more open we are to what’s being said.