While there is a lot of truth in the saying “knowledge is power,” many people choose to interpret this adage to mean that if they share their knowledge, their power is lost. In the case of some managers, they believe that if they keep information to themselves, then they will be better able to control their staff. Mushroom management, which describes a management style where managers keep staff in the dark and feed them manure, typically has devastating effects on workers and frequently reflects badly on the managers in question.
Not dealing honestly and openly with employees engenders mistrust, which in turn impacts the workforce’s morale, willingness to cooperate and, ultimately, its performance. Rumors and incredible distortions of the truth run riot, information is misinterpreted and chaos ensues as a general lack of understanding takes over.
Research has shown time and time again that one of the things that workers value most is being able to appreciate where and how their roles fit into the bigger picture. Yet, all too often, managers feel inclined to keep vital information to themselves about the organization’s strategy. Not only is this hugely frustrating and de-motivating for staff, but managers suffer as their employees work according to the wrong perceptions, using entirely the wrong set of priorities toward entirely the wrong set of objectives. Treat workers like mushrooms and all you will really end up with is vegetables.