How Leaders can Open Up to Their Teams without Oversharing

Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy once again charm us with yet another wonderful article on how to be a better leader – how much should a leader share with their team and how to do it.

Here’s a quick overview! 👇

Research shows our brains respond positively to people when we feel a personal connection with them. But, when leaders open up too much to their teams, they can also completely undermine themselves. So, when does sharing become oversharing? The key is being selectively vulnerable — or opening up while still prioritizing everyone’s boundaries.

We typically find leaders asking themselves how much of their own worries they should reveal when leading their team down a challenging or unfamiliar road. The best leaders are honest about how they feel while simultaneously presenting a clear path forward.

Here’s Liz and Mollie’s quick guide to get there:

👉 Figure yourself out – “What exactly am I feeling? Why? What is the need behind this emotion?”

👉 Regulate your emotions – “An important part of being a leader is understanding how much weight the people around you can bear,” Laszlo Bock

👉 Address your feelings without becoming emotionally leaky – You don’t have to go into details, but acknowledging your feelings helps you avoid creating unnecessary anxiety among your team members.

👉 Provide a path forward – When you’re tackling a challenging project, practice how you’re going to share your emotions with your team, and make sure you do so with intention. Aim to be realistic but optimistic.

👉 Avoid oversharing – Ask yourself: “How would I feel if my manager said this to me?”

👉 Read the room – If you think members of your team might be feeling anxious about the project, it’s okay to surface those feelings to help them feel less isolated. Again, try to pair realism with optimism, and share when you sense it will be helpful to others.

Finding the right balance between sharing and oversharing is not easy. But with practice, it can be done. 😉

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