Finally – the 10th principal! What has been the delay, you ask? Well, I have finally completed the Army Operations Course at the Canadian Army Command and Staff College. I was on the year long Primary Reserve version of the course, during which candidates with full time jobs, be they military or civilian, attempt to stuff an extra 6 months of work into a single year. It has been a grind.
First off, a link back to Part 9, which has links to parts 1 through 8 in it.
10 – Keep your followers informed of the mission, the changing situation and the overall picture.
So, yet again Dilbert provides us a negative example of this principal. His fear that keeping his team informed will result in a negative outcome for this project is the opposite of what good leadership should engender. In fact, keeping your team in the dark is a guaranteed way to ensure low morale, and most probably failure!
Let’s suppose you believe in empowering your team, and you want to share decision making at the lowest level (in the military, this is referred to as “mission command”). To achieve this, your team needs to know what is happening – and they need to understand changes so that their decision making will support yours, and overall you will (as a team) continue to move towards achieving your mission.
Unfortunately, many leaders feel that keeping information to themselves gives them power. In my personal experience, I have only seen this backfire. It makes it impossible for team members to act with initiative, and it can breed resentment if you hold back information that could have informed a better decision by a team member. Imagine the frustration if a team member takes initiative, changes their task, and then learns that you knew all along they were going in the wrong direction.
It is vital to a well functioning team that everyone is informed of how things are going on a continuous and regular basis. This doesn’t mean you share everything – information overload can also damage productivity. However, sharing key information with your team will only help you achieve the mission.