One of your reserved employees, Andi, suddenly cannot come to work because his daughter has to get intense care outside town. As a caring and empathetic leader, you want everyone in your team to know about the situation. However, Andi requests you to be quiet and not to tell everyone. As a good leader who values employees’ privacy, you said yes to the request and asked Andi to work remotely as best as he could.
Everything goes well, until one day, your team encounters a problem which needs everyone to be present in the office, including Andi. Yet, Andi’s situation has not been getting better, hence, he is still unable to go to the office. Video-call meeting would be a good option but team members insist everyone should be present. When this happens, you decide to break your promise and tell team members about Andi’s condition. While everyone understands the situation, is it the right thing to announce employee’s privacy even in a critical moment?
A good leader should be able to handle a critical situation, but dealing with an unmanageable situation such above could be tricky. In fact, according to Educational Leaders review, leaders could face a strict notion of dilemma when presented with a challenging situation where possible outcome leads to two equally unappealing choices. In Andi’s case, for example, while telling the rest of the team member could calm the critical situation, it might not be pleasant for Andi himself.
See also: The Intern’s Dilemma: What HR Should Know?
Thus, what should leaders do when facing such a dilemma? Liz Ryan, the founder and CEO of Human Workplace, advised the following points.
Never tell anyone in your team when a team member is having problems at work. If you need someone to retrain or mentor employees, simply ask them to help with those specific tasks. Do not preface the request by revealing employee’s confidential information to others as it might invite bigger chaos. Not to mention, telling employee’s confidential information could lead to gossiping around the office which will destroy trust among staff.
It is not a leader’s job to reveal or disclose pay rate with employees. It is an HR responsibility to discuss the pay rate. While you might know the market pay rate, you should never tell an employee about their co-worker’s pay rate. Always refer to having a meeting with the HR manager when employees ask about pay rate.
Never tell employees about your own job search or when you have a better offer in another company as it might affect their morale and productivity. When a good leader shows a sign of quitting, it is likely that everyone in the team will feel anxious about the future. Employees might also develop uncertain questions such as why does the leader need another job? Should we find another job too? Or what happened to this company? Such questions, of course, will disrupt business operations.
It is inappropriate to discuss politics in front of a team member. Office politics also result in several negative outcomes for employees, including decrease overall productivity, decrease concentration, spoil ambience, change employee’s attitude, demotivate employees, increase stress, as well as rise miscommunication around the office.
You should never tell your employees that you are unhappy with them as a group. If you do, as a group they might write you off and tune out whatever you say. As a leader, if you are unhappy with the whole team, reflect within yourself first as maybe you do one or several things wrong.
Ryan also suggested that you should be quiet when you feel that the company has ripped you off, mistreated you or overlooked your contributions. Being a leader or manager of a team means bearing slights and insults on your own without your teammate’s support. They have their own headaches, so it is better for you to deal with your own problem.
“It is lonely at the top” and everyone in a management position has a resist the urge at times to confide in their teammates, but doing so is not fair to your teammates, Ryan added.
Read also: Ethical and Moral Dilemmas in Leadership (What to Do About It)