Do not underestimate the importance of keeping people informed. It promotes high morale and better teamwork.
One of the most important things a boss should do is keep people informed. The manager who does not is losing valuable goodwill and cooperation. People like to know what is going on. Employees like to know about things that affect them, their department, or their company. They work better when they do.
Lack of information bothers people. Perhaps you have heard somebody grumble: “They never let us know what is going on around here,” or “Nobody ever tells us anything.” Maybe you have also felt this way.
People like to feel that they really matter – that they are important enough to be informed or consulted about the things going on around them.
One of the most helpful things a boss can do is to talk frankly with people. Talk about the job, the company, problems to be solved, ideas to be tested – anything that doesn’t have to be kept secret. It is not true that what people do not know would not hurt them. Information freely given can make them more satisfied, more understanding, and more cooperative. It gives them recognition and an opportunity to be as helpful as possible.
The fact is that most executives do not spend as much time as they should talking to their people and explaining things. In the rush of getting things done, they forget how important this part of their job really is. If you do not give people the information they are interested in, they will get it somewhere else – usually the grapevine. This is unfortunate for two reasons. It undercuts your authority when people feel they have to turn to other sources for information. And the grapevine is usually wrong. That’s how rumors get started.
Think of any department you know that has done a truly outstanding job. Are the people in that department working in the dark, merely doing what they are told? We doubt it. In most cases you will find them very well informed. They know what is going on, what the problems are, and how they fit into the picture. And they have this information because their boss made a point of seeing that they got it.
Do not be haphazard about passing information. Think about the things people might be interested in or definitely ought to know about. Pass along this information on a regular basis. Do not hold something back until the last minute or until they get word of it elsewhere.
The more your people know about their jobs, their department, and the company, the more they can help – and the more interested they will be in doing so.
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