I’ve never met a leader who likes hearing rumors flying around the halls of their organization. I have however met many people in leadership positions who somehow believe that knowledge is power.
Eliminating rumors and believing that holding information closely makes someone powerful are two competing interests.
Authentic Servant Leaders understand that knowledge is only powerful when it is shared with those who can act on it. They understand that knowing something that someone else does not won’t make them more powerful. It simply makes them solely responsible to use the information in a productive way.
If you’re a leader who doesn’t like rumors then you should be sharing as much information as is legally and ethically possible with your followers. Withholding information from your people does not make you a stronger leader but it is likely to make your people weaker and less productive followers.
Here’s why…. information is the enemy of rumor!
As humans we have this basic need for information about things that are important to us. Your people may not hold as lofty a position as you in your organization but their job is a huge source of their security. As such they want and need to know what’s going on with the organization that employs them. Absent real information they will fill their need to know with rumor and misinformation.
When an organization and it’s leadership communicates openly with their people the information void is filled and rumormongering goes way down.
There are few things in business that limit growth and productivity more than rumors. Communication improves productivity.
It’s true that for a variety of reasons everything that happens in an organization cannot and should not be shared with everyone. It’s also true that in many organizations far more can be shared than is.
If you don’t like rumors then block them with information. Ask yourself exactly why you’re holding back information from your people and if you discover you have no valid reason for not sharing it then share by every means possible.
You’ll have happier, more committed and more productive people as a result. You’ll also have a whole lot less rumors.