Are Your a Lone Ranger Leader?

Dec 26, 2018


Are you a Lone Ranger?

I once worked for a person who liked to keep everything to himself. He only shared information when he was asked directly about something. Otherwise, he mostly kept to himself.

What was the impact on staff?

  • We didn’t know what was going on strategically, so we had no way to contribute ideas or expertise.
  • We felt completely disrespected and not trusted.
  • We spent an inordinate amount of time wondering and trying to guess what was going on.
  • We had no idea whether we were valued as employees.
  • We wondered day-to-day if there were problems with the budget, and thus, our paychecks.
  • We did not feel like a team at all. It was us against him.

I can tell you—I didn’t work there long. It was a demoralizing, frustrating place to work.

As the leader, you may feel strongly that you are responsible for the organization and the strategy. And yes, ultimately, you are right. However, it will not serve you well to do it all on your own.

Remember, your team was hired because of their expertise. They know a lot about what can be done, how to do it, and also, about the industry in which you function. Most of them have been around the block before. Even younger team members bring a new and fresh perspective to the problems faced by your business or department. So, sharing information is good for your strategy and ultimately, good for your bottom line.

Even more important to your bottom line is minimizing turnover. Every time you lose a team member, it is estimated that it costs their year’s salary to replace them. Plus, you lose expertise.

So please remember: sharing information with your team saves the company big bucks!

Truly, people are more invested when they know what is going on. Follow these guidelines, and you will quickly gain buy-in and support from your team.

  • Share as much information as soon as you can. When you have information, or even ideas you are pursuing, let the team know. If necessary you can request confidentiality, but the team will work better and be more loyal when they know they are trusted.
  • Err on the side of sharing. You may think you are sharing a lot, while your team feels in the dark.
  • Encourage questions and answer them. Leave time in each team meeting for an open Q&A session. This will help you understand what your team is curious or wondering about and how they think. When you don’t share information people really do think the worst!
  • Ask for input/ideas and utilize them when appropriate. You don’t have to be the ‘expert’ on everything. People appreciate it when you ask for ideas and input on strategy and projects.
  • Show people what you see from your vantage point. As the leader, you often meet with other leaders—industry leaders, higher ups in the company, elected leaders, or even competitors. Through those meetings you gain information. Share that with your team. They may connect the dots in ways different from you, and bring their experience to bear to provide a better overall picture of what is going on.
  • Share about yourself. Lone Rangers don’t share information, leaving people to guess. About your private life, about your previous jobs, about everything. Let people know who you are. Your team will be reluctant to share anything with you unless you share with them. But don’t make it all about you, either. Ask about them and learn who they are outside of work.
  • Allow yourself to not be perfect. No one is. Except the real Lone Ranger. Except that is on TV. And even he had Tonto!