Why you should be transparent in communicating with your team in times of uncertainty.
Hi there, Russell Stratton, President and Leadership Champion with Bluegem Learning. I work with organizations just like yours to help managers improve staff engagement and increase individual and team performance.
At our upcoming lunch-and-learn on July 15th, we're going to be talking about how we can use individual values to be able to drive motivation and to improve team performance. And also how we can use values to resolve conflicts that may come up in our team.
So I thought that I would have a look at number of the values that I think are important particularly under the category of ‘Team’, as a lot of the work that I do, as I just said, is with leaders who are leading teams of people in various types of organizations.
So I picked out three values that I thought were particularly important to me and resonated with me in my time as an operational manager and front line leader.
They may be useful to you. So the first I'm going to talk about in this Vlog and then we'll move on to values 2 and 3 in later editions.
So the first one I want to talk about was the value of’Transparency’, that ability to be able to give a clear and honest picture of what is going on regarding the situation in our organization at a particular point in time that helps us to build trust with our
employees and co-workers and ‘Trust’ being one of the other values that I want to talk about another time.
So ‘Transparency’ and why did I see that this was particularly important. Well it takes me back to a story that my late father told me many years ago when I was growing up, from his time when he was in London at the beginning part of World War Two before he joined the British Army, at time when he was part of the Home Guard. Now for those of you that are not familiar with the Home Guard, it is a kind of militia that was called up during wartime, as a supplementary force that could assist the Regular Army in the defence of the United Kingdom when it was under threat of invasion from Nazi Germany.
So my father was there in West London at the time. He was about 17 years old
and would talk about a particular day when they had recently formed their their Home Guard platoon, were being briefed by an officer who had come down from headquarters on what their role was going to be. So to paraphrase the exchange, is there they were lined up a mixture of old and young man in their late teens and older man in their late 40s early 50s who perhaps had served in the Army in World War One or the Boer War and were being pressed into service.
The officer there was talking to them about how they were the first line of defence in defending London from German invasion, particularly as they was told, as my father recalls it, being told that highly trained Nazi paratroopers, who were trained killers armed to the teeth with machine guns, would be landing by parachute in the fields around Ealing in West London.
And it was his job, and his colleagues job, to stop them basically. To hold them up until the Regular Army could come and support. All of this sounded fine, you know, great morale-boosting sort of speech, even somewhat Churchillian. Except for the reality, that my Dad said, he stood there at the time being told about these highly trained Nazi paratroopers who were coming to attack his city and he was holding a broom handle with a bread knife strapped to the top. Because at that time the Home Guard only had one rifle for every 10 men that rifle only had five rounds of ammunition. So the other men in the platoon basically had a collection of garden implements and my father had a broom handle with a bread knife strapped to the top. He said he always found this was quite sort of bizarre, that you know, there he was, he and his colleagues were expected to stop the German invasion with a broom handle with a bread knife on top.
He said ‘I didn't expect that I was going to do very well against some highly trained Nazi paratrooper armed to the teeth with a machine gun’. And of course the problem there about the transparency is that there was a disconnect between what they were being told that their role was and the reality on the ground and that is he realized and the experienced members who could fought in previous wars understood, that they really were not going to be able to do very much at all to stop the German paratroopers if they did land. And that the idea of the the platoon leader coming from headquarters to try and boost their morale with a lot of sort of jingoism was backfiring, because they were thinking who is this guy he doesn’t know what he's talking about. This is foolish. We're not going to be able to stop German paratroopers with a broom handle.
Now that was just one example that got me thinking about the important sometimes, with the best of intentions trying to boost people's morale, trying to give them a positive picture, trying to tell them how important they are. But losing sight that people are actually pretty sensible and understand what the reality is and that we're probably better off, if we want to build trust with our employees by giving them …. painting the picture really of the reality for them, so they can see what's actually going on, and giving them as much information as we can about the actual reality,
so that they can then be better prepared, rather than giving them this false sense of bravado.
Okay. Well, it was a story I've remembered for over 40 years that my Father had told me and Illustrated for me the need to be able to get transparency with our people
and not to give them false hope. So if you're interested in this and you'd like to hear more about values and the stories that we can tell about values to make them come alive for people, then why not join us at our upcoming lunch-and-learn on July 15th.
When we're going to be discussing how we can use values to motivate our employees.
Tickets available. If you click on the link below COVID-19 special of $19.
So for that price, why not invite a co-worker or even your boss to come with you and we'll see you on the other side.
Book Here- 'What the F&%$ is Wrong With Them? Motivating your employees through values'
Well that's it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the blog and I'll be back next week with more, until then ... be a leader not just a boss!