A few weeks ago I coached a successful business woman who was struggling to understand why her staff didn't trust or confide in her. One of the key pieces of feedback she received was that she was too impersonal. Her staff complained (anonymously) that they felt like they didn't really know her and that she didn't take time to understand their personal lives outside of work. The implicit message was, "How can we trust you if we don't really know who you are?" The conversation I had with "Tina" (not her real name) got me thinking: How much is too much self-disclosure at work?
I've written in other posts about the pressure women feel to be "good girls." Part of being a good girl is being likable and approachable so often women tend to share lots of personal information in order to gain trust and create a stronger connection with colleagues. The problem with this strategy though is over-familiarity can lead to poor boundary management making it hard to exert your authority and maintain the objectivity you need as a manager to make tough decisions.
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