Can’t Say, Won’t Say
My lips are sealed
Failing to communicate with staff is not only dumb, it’s short-sighted. What’s the benefit of keeping people in the dark? We’re smart enough to know that something’s going on, so by telling us exactly nothing about their business, what is the expected outcome?
Too many businesses are nervous about disclosing business information to their employees. It’s a common complaint I hear in many of the organisations I visit, expressed as; “I never know what’s going on?”, or “I’m always the last to hear”, or, “I have no idea why they did that”.
Failing to update, report, explain and inform staff about the business, relegates them to little more than children. When asked why they are reluctant to disclose, managers will often say things such as, “We don’t want to worry them. It’s our job as managers to protect them”. This isn’t the voice of a manager, it’s the voice of a parent, which betrays the type of relationship many managers have with their staff.
There are a few occasions when the information being contained is so commercially sensitive that it needs to be kept under tight wraps. The operative word here is ‘few’. Since employees are the means to company wealth, having a vital role to play in helping the business realise its ambitions, they need to have clarity about where they are in relation to where they are going. Without this insight, what incentive do they have to keep moving forward?
Lack of organisational communication can often be put down to oversight, but this isn’t an excuse. It should flag up a system failure that needs to be corrected so that any repetition can be avoided. But before this can happen, Managers need to get over their paranoia, start treating their staff as adults, and sharing the data that is needed to stimulate full engagement.