In the book “All I Really Need To Know, I Learned in Kindergarten” author Robert Fulghum gives tips for everyday life; including “clean up your messes”, “wash your hands”, and “flush.” These are all great things to do, regardless of age or location. These lessons can be directly applicable to great leadership, one of which is to SHARE.
Great leaders knows when and what to share with their team. Sharing the right information helps increase understanding, improve accountability, and helps bring teams closer together.
“Observing and commenting, is a piece of cake. Experiencing and sharing, that is a piece of work.” ~ Toba Beta
I am amazed at leaders who have the attitude that everyone should know as much as them. Then when a project does not go the way it should, the employee, instead of the manager is the one that suffers the consequences. If we as leaders want people to be successful, and want the teams and organizations we lead to be successful we have to set people up for success and show people how to do things instead of just showing them.
We have to of course strike a careful balance between empowering people and educating them. There are times that we have to let people fail in order progress, but when important clients and projects on the line, there is not substitute for people focused leadership, where the leader focuses and shares his or her knowledge with the employee.
Sharing can go a lot father than “know-how” as well. The fist thing that comes to mind is your contact list. Leaders are generally much better connected than the average employee, but how often do we open up our address books so that our employees can have access to people that might be able to help them with personal or professional problems.
The other thing that the average leader has more of then employees, is written knowledge. I have a book shelf in my office that is bulging from books. Plus I have hundreds of audio books, e-books, as well as tons of electronic reports, white papers, case studies and more. Almost every time I have a 1-on-1, some issue comes up, that I can help them with. Often I just coach them through the problems, but just as often, I want them to “learn to fish,” so I lend them a book or another piece of knowledge so that they can learn themselves on how to overcome the challenge.
When this “sharing” happens, the benefits can include:
Increased Morale – Teammates are less prone to believing rumors that are bound to arise when working with a group of people. Rumors are not always maliciously started, but once they grab hold can be a burden to the progress of a project and can jeopardize its success.
Increased Efficiency – The possibility of two subgroups completing the same task will be minimized. In addition, teammates will be more likely strive to come up with solutions that work together.
Increased Ownership – Each individual team member will feel a part of the larger group, and will take more pride in the completed project as a whole, rather than just their one piece.
Remember those lessons we all learned when we were young, and apply them to your leadership style. Please share your thoughts in the comment section.