Leaders are not mind readers

There is value in leaders being aware of critical issues in the workplace. The quality of leadership decision-making is based on the quality of information or data on hand. You may feel that any leader worth their salt should have access to information that will help them do a better job. Leaders have many talents, but clairvoyance and mind reading are not within their skill set. Therefore, it is important for their teams to practice full disclosure on matters critical to the success of individuals, teams and organizations.

There are three areas I would like to emphasize to make my case. They are career status and updates, environmental hazards and new ideas.

Career expectations and updates

Current aspirations

Is your manager aware of your career expectations and personal goals? An employee became frustrated when he did not receive an assignment he cherished. He felt his performance would convince his boss that he was the ideal candidate for the job, but he never stated his interest. When I sold encyclopedias, I often used the ‘B’ volume for its excellent article and pictures about birds. The article began with a picture of a mother bird with a worm in her mouth. There were several baby birds in the nest. The question on the page was which bird will get the worm? The answer of course was the ones who made it known that they were hungry, by screaming with their beaks open. Individuals must vocalize their interest and make them known to their leaders by their actions.

Career alerts – changes in expectations

If you have career aspirations that have changed, wish to lead a project team and possess insight and ideas that could benefit the company, you must let them know.
Leaders have an understanding of your career limitations or restrictions. If this information becomes outdated or you have changed your mind, the only way they will know this, is if you bring it to their attention.

If you have changed your relocation flexibility, please keep your manager informed. Leaders are not like the notice included in your monthly bills. The notice asks if there is a change of address, please provide the new information. You must adopt the same procedure regarding career updates. It is also important for you to be objective when others around you are promoted who do not have your restrictions. You cannot be frustrated when others are moved ahead of you because of their ability to relocate to accept choice assignments.

Greg was very upset when a person with less tenure was promoted and relocated to the home office. He spread negative comments and felt it was unfair. When confronted with his displeasure, he indicated that he should have been considered for the job. When he was asked if his relocation restriction had been removed, he lowered his head and said it had not. He was reminded that he would have been in consideration if he could relocate. He was challenged to be more positive and to represent himself as the kind of leader who could be promoted in the future. He stated that that he wanted someone to ask him if his status had changed. He agreed to take responsibility for this task, since it was his career.

A reluctance to keep leadership informed on key aspects of your career can cause you to develop an unhealthy and unwarranted negative attitude towards leadership and the organization.

Acquisition of new skills

If you have acquired new skills through education or volunteerism outside the company, these new skills should become a part of your corporate resume. Skills such as organizing, administration and facilitation acquired on large civic, association or church projects might be transferable to the workplace.

Environmental hazards

A leader may not know about the poor working habits of some of your coworkers. These employees may not be shouldering their fair share of the work load. These individuals could be a drag on the team by damaging the morale of the group. These people are environmental hazards who could erode the culture of the unit. The attitude that says,” the leader is being paid the big bucks, so let them figure things out on their own,” undermines the effectiveness of hard-working individuals, the team and the organization. Failing to expose inefficiencies and ineffective people will eventually harm everyone.

If there are time wasting and budget draining activities, they should be discussed with your leadership as soon as possible. Ineffective procedures should be disclosed in a tactful manner.

A leader may inadvertently offend someone in your department or group. The manager may not be aware of this. Find a way to bring it to their attention, rather than allowing it to fester and endanger productivity.

The presence of such dangers may impair the well-being and effective functioning of the team. It is incumbent upon you to step forward and tell the leader. When you are close to the situation, you have the best view. The leader cannot read your mind and extract the necessary information. You must tell them.

New ideas

If you have talent and a skill set that is not been shared, maximum benefits are being minimize. Find a way to inform people about your gifts, whether in a meeting, by memo or through your mentor. If you have an idea or a better way of doing something, which could cost the company time and money, it would be a travesty for you not to disclose this information. The personal recognition and praise you receive could be financially rewarding.

Sharing information should not pose a threat to your career. If the organization punishes the messengers, you have to be very careful, but the information must be disclosed. You may handle this by participating in employee, satisfaction and engagement surveys, writing anonymous memos in suggestion boxes and / or relying on a trusted member of leadership in another department. The leader is not a mind reader, so you must adopt creative and straightforward measures to keep them informed about information vital to the well-being of everyone.

Copyright © 2014 Orlando Ceaser

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