We love to hear good news! When bad news comes our way some times we tend to get upset, our body language and tonality shows that we are not pleased with the information and some resort to further unproductive behavior of shooting the messenger! Shooting the messenger can be in many forms. Some would question the messenger and ask them to justify the information. Some others may ridicule them as being negative or incompetent. Some others may even resort to retribution in the form of impacting their rewards and recognition negatively. However great teams have great leaders who behave positively and encourage information flow! In my blog post on the 7th of May 2014 titled ‘How Great is Your Team?’ I promised to go into details of the 11 different aspects that make a great team. The first four aspects regarding ‘Burning Platforms’, ‘Team alignment around critical goals’, ‘Does your team have clearly agreed way of working?’ and ‘A great decision-making process for a great team’ have already been posted in this blog. Here is the fifth installment regarding the 5th aspect; ‘Information flow is encouraged’. Great information flow requires the following mind-set, thinking and behaviours;
- Make information sharing a core ‘Value’ of the organization.
- A mindset that bad news is as important or even more important than good news.
- A mindset of appreciating those who bring the bad news as it takes courage to convey bad news.
- The ability to separate the message from the messenger and focus on the message.
- Clearly communicate through formal means and through behaviours that information sharing (good or bad) is not only essential but also encouraged.
- Clearly communicate the types of information that should not be shared outside the organization. Eg: Revenue, cost, profit data as competitors may get access to such information that can be detrimental to the organization.
- Clearly communicate the types of information that should not be shared inside the organization and reason why. Eg: The senior team should not share information of a strategic product launch with the rest of the team as half-baked information can confuse the junior team members. It is better to share such information once the entire strategy is clear and the organization is ready to launch the product.
- Set up forums (meetings and brainstorming groups) and mechanism intranets and suggestion boxes for sharing information and use them.
- Reward and recognize those who share information.
- Communicate stories with regard to successes and benefits of sharing information.
The above guidelines will help not only sharing of information but also to engage the team to deliver the strategic and operational business priorities of the organization.