See Strategies

Too Much Information?
May 31, 2010, 3:10 PM
Filed under: Communication, Leader Beware, Team Development Strategies


Good leaders strive to engage their team members—letting them know the vision, direction, and decisions of the organization; inviting their input; and sharing information.  The goal is to develop strong teams and team members with a strong commitment and investment in the organization.  Those leaders need to be aware and know where the balance is between providing information that needs to be shared and providing team members with too much information.

Team members do not need to know details of the background information—the company finances, information about people within the organization, the feelings of those in the organization, and why things are the way they are.   Decisions can be made without seeking employee input and without providing more information than is needed.  In fact, providing unnecessary information can lead to other problems:

  • Taking too long to make decisions
  • Taking decisions in order to please others rather than doing what is best for the organization
  • Team members using the information to their advantage

When sharing information with your team, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is this important for them to know in order to meet their goals and objectives?
  2. What will the short- and long-term impact be if this information is shared?
  3. Am I sharing to “tell someone”, or am I venting?
  4. Is there a purpose to this?

Building a strong team is vital.  Providing the right information is imperative to the success of that team.  As with all things, balance is the key.


What you don’t know-hurts you.



You get comfortable.  Things seem to be going smoothly.  You feel good about your teams.  They aren’t perfect but overall they do a pretty good job.  Things seem to be running smoothly.  You become complacent. You fall into a routine of telling your team what you need, sharing information with your direct reports, explaining your needs, and setting deadlines.  But there is one thing you did not think to do and this could hurt you.  You did not ask questions.

I guarantee you that there is something one of your team members is doing that you do NOT want them to be doing.  This could be hurting overall performance and productivity; but since you failed to ask questions you missed an opportunity to identify and change what is not right.  It could be a department leader who is using fear to get her team to produce instead of working to develop their skills.  You may even have seen some signs; but because things seemed to be going well and she appeared to be a strong leader, you didn’t think to ask.

As a leader it is your responsibility to be on the lookout—reading signs, asking questions to find out what is really going on, and finding out what your team knows.  You will be amazed at the information you will get when you ask questions like….

Tell me how you came to that decision?

What did you say to her?

What will that conversation look like?

What is your plan? What are your next steps?

What is your priority here?

What is your plan b?

How are you developing _____?

Don’t stop there, keep asking and inquiring.  Keep your antennae up.  Remember that the more you ask the more you learn, and the more you know the better you and your team will perform.  You are the leader and it is your responsibility to have your finger on the pulse at all times.  Don’t miss an opportunity.  Even when you think you know the answer, ask the question anyway.

Leadership Presence

Is it really important that you become more commanding?  After all, you may feel you already are a good leader since everyone likes you.  You are nice and get along well with everyone.  You are respected by those under your charge.  So, why be concerned with changing how you operate? 

Think twice before you answer that question.  Your answer should be a resounding “yes”– you do need to consider how you present yourself and how others view you.  As a leader it is imperative that you have good leadership presence.  We are not talking about being overbearing, obnoxious, forceful, or loud.  Those behaviors are not conducive to good leadership.  What we are talking about is paying attention to your body language, the tone of your voice, and how you direct others.   Commanding the floor will enable you to be heard.  Your ideas and suggestions will be taken seriously.  You will be given credit for your contributions.  You will be respected for the great leader you are. 

If you are serious about wanting to improve your leadership presence, there are some great private trainers who can help you.  Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but you just may be able to retain the services of one of the top private trainers for presentation skills.  She only works with top executives and is hard core.  She will tell you the ugly truth and then help you fix your image and presence.  You will be a stronger presenter and communicator as a result.

What is YOUR blindspot?

It seems it is easier to see the faults of others than to see our own. Think about coworkers, supervisors, and managers with whom you have worked. Were they unable to see how their behavior was adversely affecting their careers? We call this a blind spot for obvious reasons. It probably seemed to you to be obvious, yet they were oblivious to it. Think of the leader who seems to leave each night at 5pm but expects the team to do whatever it takes to get the job done. What about another leader that, when nervous, uses the same phrase over and over again. Ummmm…..

What about you? Do you have blind spots? If you don’t think you do, think again. Everyone can have a blind spot. Unless you are aware and astute, you may be missing an opportunity to identify your blind spot, change the way you behave, and in the process create new opportunities. As a leader your behavior is seen by many, making it even more imperative that you pay attention and identify your blind spots.

A blind spot can be costly. It can create unnecessary challenges in all aspects of your work. It can affect your chances for promotion, your credibility with your stakeholders, and your effectiveness in influencing others. An excellent book for leaders is “Leadership and Self Deception: Getting out of the Box” by Arbinger Institute. It is a great resource for helping you identify that which sometimes can be missed, that blind spot.