Friday, 2 December 2011

Too Much Information

As a leader, how do you know how much information to share with staff?

When leading a staff, it's always important to keep people informed about what's going on - especially when it may affect them and their work.  This means providing them with the information they need.  Yet not all information is necessary for them.  In fact, some might be just too much.  It can become mental clutter and serve as a distracter. 

How do you know when to share and when to be the gatekeeper and protect your staff from an overabundance of information?  As a leader, you need to know how to determine how much information your staff really wants or needs.  What is important for them to know?  What is less important and might well be best if not shared?  Sometimes in our zeal to be effective with communications, we share too much.  At other times, we may be overly-protective of staff and not share with them information that they may appreciate having. 

How do you achieve the balance?  One effective - but embarrassingly obvious - strategy is simply to ask them.  Ask who might like to serve on a small committee to help determine what's important for everyone to know and what's not essential.  By doing this, you demonstrate a desire to share anything that may be important for your staff while recognizing the need to gatekeep the flow.  Your job on such a committee is always to ask: But if someone wants to know more, how do we still ensure that they have access to it? And then ensure that there are structures in place for those who want more.  Virtually every school/organization has at least a small group of people who enjoy serving as the gatekeepers of information.  As leader, you can benefit from the talents on your staff while ensuring that everyone knows just what they need. 

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