JS Tip 166: From the Leadership Workshops: Talking to Your Leaders

Last week, we discussed the need, the requirement, the imperative, for leaders to know their people and their organization.

This week, we’ll explore a complement of that requirement: the need for workers to convey complete information up the chain.

When General Marty Dempsey (the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) was promoted to brigadier general, a friend called to congratulate him. The friend asked him about the differences in life as a general officer.

Marty responded, “Getting a straight answer. Everyone wants to tell me the good news. They want to tell me what they think I want to hear. Nobody wants to tell me about their organization’s problems. I have to dig to get at the truth. I can’t help if I don’t know the problems.”

Leaders can’t help if they don’t have all the information they need.

All of us—workers, first-line supervisors, middle managers—must convey all the news—good and bad—up the chain of command.

(This may raise an entirely different discussion about whether leaders want to hear the bad news, but that’s another discussion.)

Decisions based on partial information have little chance of success.

If you have questions, comments, or arguments, let us know. We love this stuff.