Because I said so, that’s why.
Remember when you’re parents would tell you to do something and you would question their authority by asking questions. Then after many questions or maybe only one question they might turn to you and say, “Because I said so.” Do you remember if it made you want to follow them or rebel? Did you want to cooperate and help them with their request or drag your feet because it just didn’t make sense to you? This is exactly what happens when leaders do not clearly communicate their strategy. When they leave big gaping holes with no answers. And when employees question the rationality of the decisions made and are left with no answers.
Now I am not saying that the workplace is the parent-child relationship. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. It really just depends on who you ask.
I am saying that if leaders establish a culture of ‘Do as I say’, then it can quickly become a parent-child relationship. Then you have leaders trying to get rebellious toddlers/teenagers to cooperate with their plans. It’s like herding cats.
I have heard leaders say, “well we can’t tell them anything because we don’t want the information to leak to…” This just shows a complete lack of trust. Leaders who don’t trust their employees will have employees that do not trust them. No trust. No understanding equals stagnant or slow growth. Was that what you wanted?
I’m not saying to share everything. I’m saying share something. Be as transparent as possible about not being able to share. People will respect you because you show them respect. Reciprocal appreciation of where the other person stands.
How to share when you can’t share too much:
The formula: Acknowledge where you right now as a company. Emphasis on how your employees may be perceiving the current situation. Explain in as much detail as possible what the future will look like. End with a promise to share more on a daily or weekly basis and actually keep that promise.
That last part always kills leaders. They decide not to share anything because 1) nothing new has happened or 2) something happened that is very sensitive. How to address that: 1) “Just an update that we are still working on things. We do not have any new information at this moment. We were expecting to be at point B but we are still at point A.” 2) “Some new information has been discovered however, we need time to understand the implications before we can share it with the team. Please be patient with us and we will come back to you as quickly as possible.”
It’s not rocket science. Saying nothing only creates insecurity and mistrust in each other and the company. If you don’t want the parent-child relationship in your company then don’t talk to your employees like they are children. Treat them like adults.