My brother used to talk about his bosses at a former employer in these terms: “Yeah, they think I’m a mushroom. They just keep me in the dark and feed me lots of s***.”
I’m still reading Wheatley’s “Leadership and the New Science.” A lot of what she says makes sense, and part of it reminded me of my brother’s playful take on the withholding of information. From page 99:
Everybody needs information to do their work. We are so needy of this resource that if we don’t get the real thing, we make it up. When rumors proliferate and gossip gets out of hand, it is always a sign that people lack the genuine article – honest, meaningful information.
It reminds me of the phrase “knowledge is power.” Unfortunately our western culture seems to encourage the hoarding of power. After all, if I share my power, there won’t be enough of it for me, right? If we could change this thought to “knowledge is nourishment,” maybe we’d realize we’d all get on much better and make better progress on building a better society promoting an open flow of information.
I don’t suppose any of us has to look too far to bring to mind an organization that starves us of information. Maybe it would be more heartening to share experiences of organizations that promote an open flow of information. I know that I work best with my colleagues at the university when we share information freely with each other. I can get stuck in solving a problem pretty easily, and once stuck, am much more likely to get unstuck sooner when I can get someone else’s take on the situation. I’m grateful that this is my primary experience of how we work together as colleagues. Still, I am often tempted to a kind of “go it alone” mentality, getting some kind of perverse satisfaction out of ruminating over some confusion much longer than necessary. I recognize this as nothing more than an inflated ego – or perhaps more accurately, a wounded ego that needs bolstering by a solo success. What a waste of time!
I invite you to join this conversation with anything this may have brought to your mind…