The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


September 20, 2013

Career Coach: Don't keep information to yourself

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place" — George Bernard Shaw

Do your employees have a sense of what is going on in your organization?

Recently, a manager told me that in her company, her boss never let her or the team know what he learned from his boss. He didn't "cascade-down" the information coming from the top. The chief executive, however, thought that everything he shared with this leader was being also shared with his staff. So, he was surprised to find out that lower-level employees were not aware of some of the company's policies or news.

This lack of transparency seems to be a common problem in organizations today. Yet, it is increasingly important for leaders to keep their staffs informed. People can't achieve the company's goals if they don't know what they are. They can't get excited about the vision or mission if they haven't been told what it is. They have difficulty planning for the future, an instead, they can seem confused, lost, and misguided when they don't have accurate information. Further, they can feel resentful and angry when they are the last to know or worse — never told what is going on. This makes them feel unimportant and not valued in the firm. In fact, when transparency is low, employees view the organization and leaders with more skepticism and suspicion, leading to a breakdown of trust.

So, what can companies do to achieve transparency of information?

Do not assume that messages shared from the top leader to the next level down are being shared all the way down to the lowest level employee. Make sure to follow up with employees at all levels to see where there may be communication gaps.

Text Only
  • Is what my employer is doing legal? Yes or no

    Q: Welcome to the @Work Advice lightning round, answering one question: Is what my employer is doing legal? A yes answer means the described situation is generally legal. The reader can protest or refuse to participate, but not on legal grounds. A no answer means the situation seems to violate at least one labor law.

    August 1, 2014

  • Career Coach: Shaping your own future

    In our hyper-dynamic and complex world, it is easy to confuse means with ends, activity with progress, efficiency with effectiveness, and busyness with importance.

    August 1, 2014

  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.


    July 31, 2014

  • Fancy management systems won’t fix bad managers

    In violation of my long-standing “only watch TV” rule, I read an article recently about how Zappos is adopting a management structure known as holacracy.

    July 30, 2014

  • Your Office Coach: Supervisor-employee boundaries must be honored

    QUESTION: Two weeks ago, my husband “Barry“ unexpectedly came home from work with a large flat-screen television. He explained that one of his employees gave it to him as repayment for a loan. I was shocked, because I had no idea that Barry was lending people money.

    July 29, 2014

  • Silly mistakes that sink job applicants

    Some employers won’t care - or won’t catch them - but mistakes in word usage can put your application in the reject pile.

    July 29, 2014

  • Watercooler: Raised to the roof

    Q: Over 15 years, I have worked my way up the corporate ladder with the same organization. I have been given a raise every year and excellent reviews, as well as several promotions.

    July 25, 2014

  • Career Coach Q&A: job search follow-up; introverts as leaders

    Starting a business:

    Q: I have a stable job that I don't hate, but I have an idea for starting my own business.

    July 25, 2014

  • How to become a leader

    QUESTION: I’ve just been promoted into a leadership role. I’m excited, but also kind of overwhelmed. What do I need to do to be good at my new job?

    July 24, 2014

  • Balancing Act: How much is your time worth? Consider outsourcing some tasks

    Todd Paton has a booming business getting customers noticed on the Web. One tool he uses is generating online press releases to build brand awareness and create links that will send traffic to a customer’s website. But Paton, owner of Paton Internet Marketing, acknowledges that writing the releases is not his strong suit. Rather than spend his time doing it, he hires out the task.

    July 23, 2014

Business Video