I am not fond of the unknown, as I’m often searching for ways to make it known.
Sure, not the worst problem to deal with.
But when I moved into organizational leadership, into a role that called for dealing with a lot of ambiguity, moving pieces, and constrained availability, I discovered something crucial:
Manage the unknown into the known.
What does that even mean, H2?
I hated surprises at work. I still hate ’em in life.
I also hated not feeling supported, even if it was down to a simple availability constraint.
“Sorry, H2, I was in meetings all day and didn’t have a chance to —”
So when I took on a team of leaders, I told myself I’d model my managing in a way that would help someone like me.
If I knew I’d be busy in a given day, why couldn’t my team know?
I’d outright show my schedule.
“Hey team, I’m going to do my best to be available, but here’s my meeting monolith for today – please do XYZ if urgent, otherwise, I’ll be diligent about getting to concerns tonight”
Or if I knew something was coming up, some initiative, doo-doo hitting the fan, I could only disclose so much (being Apple, and all), but I could at least get in the way of fears and surprises.
I’d share as much as I knew and could allow, when I knew it.
“Hey team, I can’t say much, and I can answer even less, but I’d ask that you double check ABC when you do CYA, just to make sure that if BFD happens, that we’re atop concerns.”
It never hurt to be transparent.
And it worked amazingly. They felt like I had not just their back, but their front too.
I wasn’t trying any clever management trick.
I’m just an autistic worrywart who was once an autistic worrywart boss.
But I didn’t want my people to worry like I did.