In our current video series, I’ve been sharing strategies on how to help your employees become more resilient. Today is Strategy #4, and the tip is to share as much information as you can to reduce uncertainty.
Reduce uncertainty by sharing as much information as you can
I’ve written previously about how helping employees feel like they’re in control is a powerful way to help them build their resiliency (see Strategy 2 and Strategy 3). Helping them find ways to reduce uncertainty is just as effective a tool to help them become more resilient. And one of the ways to reduce uncertainty is to share as much information as you are able to.
Now there are two things I want you to consider when it comes to sharing information – quantity and frequency. Let’s talk about quantity first. Many managers fall into the trap of believing that they must have complete information before sharing it with their staff.
“Let’s get all the i’s dotted and all the t’s crossed,” they say. “No point in telling people until we’ve ironed out all the wrinkles.”
That’s the absolute worst approach to take! When there is a vacuum of information, people immediately rush to fill that vacuum, and that’s how crazy rumours get started. And of course, when the rumour mill is rampant, resiliency suffers. Rumours are the biggest enemies of resiliency. It’s far better to tell people what you know, EVEN if it’s not complete. Say “Here’s what I know, and it is subject to change as more information becomes available.” You’ll find that your employees are actually quite comfortable with incomplete information; it is the complete LACK of information that causes trouble.
Frequency matters too!
The second consideration about sharing information in a way that will help your people become more resilient is frequency. How often should you share information? Now here too, I have managers say to me
“I have nothing new to report, so there’s no point in saying anything to the team.”
Wrong! If information is infrequent, a vacuum gets created and the crazy rumours take over again. My Merge rule is at least once a week. Even if you have nothing new to report, at least once a week, you need to repeat what you know. Say
“What we know is what I’ve already told you, and here it is again.”
Because if you don’t, the rumour mill will take over, and resiliency will suffer.
So, in a nutshell, today’s strategy to help your employees become more resilient is to share information at least once a week, and as fully as you are able to.
As always, I’d love your thoughts on this strategy. What do you do? What have you observed? What works, and what doesn’t? Please add your thoughts in a Comment below.