How to Build a Rumor Factory

Most companies, managers, and leaders are not a fan of rumors. The most effective “creators” of rumors are companies, managers, and leaders. 

That’s an interesting contradiction and it happens because those three entities fail to realize this one key fact: information is the enemy of rumor.

Let me give you one example. 

The owners of a small company are very protective of their company. They have invested perhaps years of sweat and toil to achieve whatever level of success they have. There are “things” that only they can know, “secrets” that must be kept from “the employees.” They rightfully take great pride in their success and while they say their people are their greatest asset you might be hard-pressed to see that sentiment in action. They also hate, hate, hate rumors about their company. They hate it even more when those rumors start from within the company.

The employees however feel as if it’s their company too. They too have invested their time and energy into making the company a success. They want to know “stuff” about their company; things like it’s vision, future plans, maybe even how it’s doing financially. Actually, it’s more than wanting to know, they need to know, their future is tied to the company almost as much as the owners. 

So this gap exists in the organization, the gap between what the owners want their people to know and what their people believe they need to know. That gap will be filled! It will either be filled with accurate information or it will be filled with rumors.

The withholding of even basic information of any kind creates rumors. Poor managers and leaders mistakenly believe that knowledge is power; that’s just not right. Applied knowledge is power and no knowledge can be applied until it is shared.

When you withhold the information your people need to feel as if they are a vital part of the organization, then you, yes you, build a rumor factory.

If you’re a manager or leader and you don’t like rumors then you had best learn to communicate more effectively. You had better learn to share information that your people need to know. When you hold information that could help your people understand their role in the company you create rumors. When you fail to share your thoughts and ideas about the future of the company you create rumors. 

Rumors are created out of a basic human need for information. Information is the enemy of rumor, if you don’t like rumor then fill that basic human need with real information. 

Almost all information currently held tight by managers and leaders could be shared with their teams with no, zero, nada, negative consequences. So share it!

Now, a caveat… There is information that needs to be kept private. “HR Stuff” for instance. For publicly held companies financial information and reports cannot be released to employees before they are available to investors. I don’t think any right-minded person would expect that kind of information to be shared. 

Authentic leaders don’t let those those regulations get in the way of sharing every bit of information they can legally share. While some people think that information is power, authentic leaders know that shared information is powerful. 

Let go of the information and grow your people, and your organization, today.

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