Instead of motivating our teams, we should simply stop de-motivating them. Everyone you work with is highly motivated by default. But, bad information policies, countermanding orders or simply ignoring ideas will turn a highly motivated team member into a disgruntled road block.
Highly skilled team members are able to deal with the truth. Especially in a start-up environment, it is crucial to constantly let everyone know how the company is doing. There are two reasons for being totally open:
- Informed team members take more risk.
- Missing information will be guessed.
The Higher the Risks, the More Open the Communication has to be
If you start a new business and are able to get a great team, everyone in the team is usually very aware of the risks involved. If you don’t treat them as adults when things get rough, you will lose their trust and your team mates are more likely to look for a new job. If this sounds counter intuitive to you, you’re not alone. But I’ve seen it to be true various times. Remember, a great team is usually a smart team and smart people tend to know when they’re being left in the dark. Seeing upcoming risks makes you feel more secure than complete darkness.
If You Don’t Know, You Guess
I’ve seen this to be true for every size of organization I worked for: If team members don’t know something, they make something up. It might be gossip about a manager’s private life or, worse, about the future of one’s job. If you try to tell your team everything going on there’s less room for guessing. You trust your team to run your business, so please trust them to be able to deal with whatever situation comes up! If a bad rumor is born, it is incredibly hard to kill it again. By being totally open, you can avoid most rumors getting started in the first place.
What to do with Really Confidential Information?
Ok, if you’ve been in a management position for some time you definitely have come across information you shouldn’t disseminate. Sometimes things are extremely complicated and can be easily misunderstood. And once misunderstood, again, you’ve started a hard to kill rumor which might severely harm your business. But, more often than you think it would be better to take the time to explain rather than creating a secret. People sense secrecy and get nervous very easily. Trust your team, educate them to understand a situation fully and get through it together!