Saturday, 8 March 2014

Sharing information: One of the key components of organisational success

Being in a position of leadership in an organisation is being in a group, an “in-group”, that is, a group which some of those on the outside perceive as being desirable, one that they would give anything to be a part of, one whose status is elevated.

While some of those on the outside of this group, that is the “out-group” are longing to take their place in this “in-group”, many of those who have found themselves in this group keep on devising ways to maintain their position and to keep subordinates firmly in their subordinate position.

The problem with this behaviour is that the goals of the organisation will not be fully met if there is a gap in the organisation which subordinates perceive is being deliberately constructed by leadership in order to keep the two groups from developing any sort of group identity. This is a problem which is compounded by the animosity towards and distrust of leadership which usually ensue in situations like these. Since all members in the organisation are supposed to be working to achieve the objectives of the organisation in a spirit of interdependence, with the leadership leading the process, the absence of this interdependence, the absence of the necessary camaraderie and trust will make the achievement of the objectives of the organisation an uphill task.

 At the heart of this leading should be the ability and willingness on the part of the leadership to effectively communicate the organisation’s mission and goals, the strategy or strategies for achieving them, providing updates on the result of effort expended at different stages and to motivate the led towards greater effort than previously expended.

However, in the “in-group” of leadership, information becomes a most valuable resource. Information is power. It is the group’s source of authority. Therefore, this information is held very “close to the chest”. It is shared reluctantly and not in its entirety. It seems that persons in this group believe that in sharing information with subordinates they will erode their authority.

When the group underperforms, leadership apportions blame, but only to subordinates. When performance improves leadership takes most of the credit.

For persons who are committed to the organisations of which they are a part and display this commitment by carrying out their duties well, this attitude on the part of leadership is a source of frustration. And it is one of the major reasons why many persons in organisations either opt out mentally or physically from the organisation.

To get the best from members of the organisation, those in positions of leadership have to be willing to control their egos. They can enjoy the satisfaction of their elevated status without treating those whom they lead as unimportant cogs in the machinery of the organisation. Being transparent by sharing information is a good start and nothing says respect more than that.

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