Transparency is a good thing when it comes to running a team. It fosters trust between management and their colleagues, while also increasing engagement with the organization as a whole.
It's important that employees feel comfortable going to leadership with any concerns they have - whether personal or work-related. This can play a considerable part in the company culture and how connected employees feel to the business they work for.
However, if you're in management, you also have a responsibility to remain professional and command respect from those around you.
So how do you know when you're oversharing?
Is it relevant to the situation?
There's nothing wrong with sharing your own thoughts or feelings with people on your team if it's appropriate to the situation you're in. But no one wants their manager telling them about their marriage problems in the middle of a meeting about professional progression. However, if you're telling another professional your insight or experience related to a particular problem they're experiencing, it can be valuable and help to create the company culture many businesses strive for.
As a manager, your role is to provide support to the professionals on your team. This means before sharing, you need to check that it's helping them in some way, not that you're trying to vent your own problems.
A culture of communication
All good company cultures are based on sound communication. This means that anytime you open up to team members it needs to be for the better of the business, even if it's in a roundabout way. So airing your frustrations with a certain company procedure or decision is unlikely to have a positive impact on the organization or your team in the long run.
This doesn't mean that you need to accept everything that happens within the business, as blindly following decisions can damage any relationship you've cultivated with your team. If you have concerns about something make sure you take a proactive approach. Tell employees that you have reservations or concerns about the situation and detail the steps you're going to take to try and ensure there are no negative consequences. This is also a fantastic opportunity to get the insight of your team, further developing the culture of communication.
Know what to keep to yourself
As part of the leadership team, you may be privy to information that the rest of the company isn’t. Do you share this or keep it to yourself? To answer this question you need to think about what employees would gain if you did tell them, and what could potentially be at risk.
Confidential information should never be shared without the authorization of someone more senior but what about major business developments? Chances are employees will already know that something is happening and may even ask questions about it. Instead of lying - which could harm your relationship with them - tell them that it's not been properly sorted yet and that there will be a company announcement soon.
Sharing information is fine if it only impacts yourself, but when other employees or the company as a whole is involved, you need to think twice to determine if you’re oversharing.
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