In Chapter 1 of Leadership, I discuss the impact of intimacy in organisations, those daring interactions that bring leaders’ personal, private and professional lives together enabling people to get to know them more, rather than working with people who are soulless automatons.
Working with leaders over many years, I discovered that there is a large group of leaders who are reticent in sharing anything personal or private about themselves. Their two main fears are that if they have to open their hearts to their innermost experiences,
- others would then use this information badly, and that
- being so personal detracts from getting work done.
Leaders and their staff can use simple self-disclosure to establish or reaffirm their relationship with the group. Self-disclosure are personal statements with both feeling and content.
Something as simple as ‘I like where you are going with that’ or ‘I’m lost right now’ lets others know a lot about you and helps the group know where you stand in that moment. These are simple self-disclosures.
Table 1.1 Levels of Self-disclosure
Unguarded self-disclosure is one of those rare moments when personal imperfections are shared in a way to create human connections aligned with business directions. These are not Facebook status updates.
This takes daring and must be authentic to create connections within the group, and without expecting anyone in the group to look after you. The ‘care-taking’ belongs within your own support network of peers, friends, and family.
Self-disclosure creates openness and friendliness
in collegial relationships enabling people to respond
to one another more easily.
© Diana Jones