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Coaching Leadership

Withholding information

Regardless of what most people think — intentionally withholding information rarely does any good. And while leaders who practice this intend to gain power or maintain some advantage over others (the ones with whom they don’t want to share the information), rarely does it achieve the desired effect. For all we know, it ends up breeding mistrust.

The latest research confirms that leaders who engage in withholding information are about 20 per cent less likely to thrive in the workplace or experience learning and growth. It also makes employees feel unsafe, psychologically, because eventually, whatever information is withheld comes out in the open.

Is it worth it? I don’t think so.

That said, there’s no denying that we’re living in a world of “too much information” these days and it’s important to evaluate:

A) how much is too much information — sometimes shorter instructions are more effective than a comprehensive one. For example, you can tell someone to open Google Maps and type in your address. Or give them precise directions, verbally, including all the right and wrong turns they have the navigate to get your place. (And yeah, don’t forget to take a right from the underpass before getting on to the next flyover…)

B) appropriateness of information — if it helps the other person, incredible! If it hurts them in any way, you’ve got some thinking to do.

So, the only vital questions that you should be asking as a leader include:
A) Is it appropriate?
B) How much information should I convey?

Anything besides the above qualifies for withholding information. And if you know someone who has been doing it, please share this post with them. If you’ve been at it, let me tell you — it’s not worth it.