Toxic Curiosity from Poor Communication

Everyone wants to know everything. Whether it is important to them or not, there seems to be an underlying desire to be “in the know” for many people. Mix this strong desire to know everything with a degree of authority and a dash of insecurity, and there may be a brewing disaster.

Analytics are incredibly useful, especially if the right metrics are attached to the right objectives and in the hands of the right people; this can lead to improving performance in key organizational areas. (Davenport et al., 2010) What can become challenging with analytics is communicating them properly, timely, and with the right perspective for positive forward movement. Without intentionality, a harmful curiosity may be created in organizational members that can threaten the culture of the organization, or brew into a situation with adverse effects for the organization. (Schein, 2010) This is where organizational leaders need to rely on strong communication skills and be intentional about how analytic information is distributed.

Often organizational members grow frustrated with their leaders which can lead to disappointment or distrust. (Schein, 2010) If analytics are being developed and used for decision-making, but individuals who feel as though they are a part of the decision-making process but do not have access to the proper information, then they may act out in undesirable ways in order to obtain the information they feel they are being neglected. On the other, if analytics are being placed into the hands of organizational members, it is important for leaders to communicate clearly how the analytics equip the members of the organization, and where the limitations lie. (Northouse, 2013)

For effective communication of analytics, leaders simply need to be informative, give clear expectations of action, and be firm but not rigid on the proper use of the information given. (Ellis & Fisher, 1994)

References

Davenport, T. H., Harris, J. G., & Morison, R. (2010). Analytics at work: smarter decisions, better results. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business Press.

Ellis, D. G., & Fisher, B. A. (1994). Small group decision making: communication and the group process (4th ed). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: theory and practice (6th ed). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.

Schein, E. H. (2010). Organizational culture and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Retrieved from http://www.books24x7.com/marc.asp?bookid=36500

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