Help! Am I Oversharing With My Colleagues?

Dear OOO,

I’m the boss at a midsize office and I love my colleagues. I fear, although, that I inform them an excessive amount of at occasions. I are likely to put on my coronary heart on my sleeve. Am I doing the mistaken factor when I’m not terrifically discrete?


The most enjoyable questions for an recommendation columnist, or at the very least this recommendation columnist, are super-specific conditions to which I can’t relate in any respect. Sneaking into your workplace? A colleague taking credit for a e-newsletter you wrote? I have by no means skilled these situations and have very robust emotions about them, which is an efficient recipe for cosplaying as an knowledgeable and ranting on the web! The vital distance bred by unfamiliarity may be terribly useful for formulating ideas that could be worthwhile to different folks. Once I lose that, I concern I’m going to finish up simply working via my very own points on, as an alternative of in a therapist’s workplace, the place they belong.

This, California, is the precise reverse of a state of affairs to which I can’t relate. This is a query that strikes on the coronary heart of all of my uncertainties about find out how to greatest handle, find out how to be an excellent colleague, find out how to be an excellent individual on this planet. This is a query that had me tossing and turning for 3 nights after you despatched it. I hate this query, as a result of it’s my query, and since I can’t convincingly cosplay as an knowledgeable and thus haven’t any alternative however to disclose myself as a bumbling fool who’s making all the pieces up as I go alongside. (All of my previous/current/future direct reviews, please cease studying now.)

With that ringing endorsement of my {qualifications}, let’s dive in. After studying your query a number of occasions, then discussing it with a good variety of buddies who’re additionally bosses, I really feel most assured about one takeaway: You’re an excellent folks supervisor. Bosses who’re inclined towards honesty and conscientious sufficient to fret about how they’re affecting their persons are uncommon, and your workers is fortunate to have one.

Transparency and emotional openness are strengths—however, after all, they need to be wielded fastidiously. And none of us are going to get the stability proper on a regular basis. Thinking critically (obsessing?) about it’s the solely approach to maintain your batting common up, so that you’re doing nice.

You don’t say if there are specific sorts of info you are feeling badly about sharing, so indulge me whereas, for a second, I return to … me. As somebody who has been credibly described as “a terrible liar” and “totally without a poker face,” I don’t have a lot alternative in terms of being sincere in my relationships. But such as you, I share your issues about whether or not I sometimes go too far. Everyone says they like transparency from their boss, however not all info is equal, and a few may be extra damaging than useful.

I’m going to guess that, like me, your stress usually comes when debating whether or not to disclose details about chaos taking place above your staff’ pay grades. Let’s say you’re in a battle with your boss about adjustments that might have an effect on the individuals who report back to you (a completely hypothetical state of affairs with which I haven’t any direct experience). It doesn’t really feel nice to cover issues out of your workers when doing so might lead to them being blindsided later, however you additionally wish to shield them from untimely panic. I suppose the important thing query, then, is why you wish to share the knowledge. Will your folks truly profit from figuring out? Will it assist them make better-informed choices, or put together them for one thing coming down the road? Or will it simply offload your stress onto them on the expense of their very own psychological safety? The occasions I’ve regretted being sincere are those when I’m doing it for my very own catharsis with out totally contemplating how the individual I’m speaking to might be affected.

This is hard, although, as a result of if in case you have a number of direct reviews, every of them will react in a different way to new info. I’ve labored with some individuals who do greatest after they know precisely how the sausage is made, and a few who’re far too liable to freakouts to deal with something that’s not set in stone. And workplaces are gossipy locations, so telling your less-anxious reviews will virtually all the time get again to the more-anxious ones. That could make you appear like you’re taking part in favorites in a means that breeds but extra nervousness. So think twice about which model of the story you’re snug with everybody figuring out, and adapt your supply based mostly on who you’re telling.

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