How to be authentic without oversharing.
Being effectively authentic calls for a good deal of self-management, and knowing what and what not to do.
1. Do: Examine your intent. Be sure the information is relevant to the job and the other person or people. Focus on them, instead of yourself. Bad reasons for sharing include to:
- Relieve your own tension
- Feel better about yourself
- Fit your agenda to make a certain point
- Impress the other person or make them like you
2. Do: Think before speaking. Process what you will say before you open your mouth. The last thing you want is an incoherent emotion dump that helps no one.
3. Do: Look for teachable moments. Know your audience and gauge its readiness to hear what you have to say. Sharing too much information at the wrong time, or before employees are ready, can derail your efforts. For instance, if feelings are extremely intense, such as during the termination of a fellow employee, you might want to wait until things have settled a bit. Always remember the 24-hour rule.
4. Don’t: Mistake authentic sharing for an opportunity to complain. Sharing appropriate, relevant information doesn’t mean venting to employees. Not only is this bad for morale – it will also likely backfire on you down the road.
5. Don’t: Talk behind another person’s back. In the words of Stephen Covey, “Honor the absent.”
6. Don’t: Share secrets – yours, the company’s or other people’s. Any time you share information, make sure it doesn’t put anyone else at risk. A good rule of thumb is to never share anything about another person – even your mom – unless you have permission.
7. Don’t: Get too emotional. Steer clear of your emotional hot buttons. You don’t want an employee to have to ask, “Are you OK?” during your conversation.
8. Don’t: Share anything that starts like this. If you feel the need to begin a conversation with, “Don’t tell anyone, but …” or “Keep this between us,” or “Off the record,” it’s probably best to keep it to yourself.
In our next post we will talk about how to rein it in with your staff so things remain productive and relevant.
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