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There are a few well known characteristics of world class workplaces. One of my favorites is transparency. Whether you're talking about daily decision making, the organization's financial statements, or any other aspect of organizational life, here's a great rule of thumb. When in doubt, share the information. In years past many professionals believed that to horde information and keep it to yourself was a great way to gain power. They were somewhat correct. But that's not the type of power you want. You don't want power gained by keeping people in the dark.
You want the power gained by respecting them enough to share information instead of keeping secrets. If you're talking about compensation, or if it's illegal or clearly unethical, don't share what you know. In all other cases, which is about 99% of the time, Err on being transparent. Here's why. People want to trust but they're willing not to. If they feel as if you've not shared the entire story or the complete explanation, they will often assume the worst, and it can become a vicious cycle. Once they believe you're not being completely open, the odds they will assume that about you in the future goes up.
Even if later on you're being completely honest. Just remember that the team likes to know that they're your partners even more than your subordinates. They like to feel in the loop, as if you're all reading from the same page. So if you're pondering a big decision, or if you're not sure what to tell the team about that meeting you just attended, you of course need to be smart in terms of your ethical obligations. But to the extent possible, share information widely. When you do, team trust goes up. That means they'll remain willing and able to engage the risks associated with change and innovation.
Let me ask you, do you want the team to believe in you? Well, don't tell them you're trustworthy. Show them what it means to be trustworthy. Share your thoughts and the information you possess. Be clear and open. Be transparent.
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