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I am getting older, and health issues over the last year have made me begin thinking about selling my small business. I have spoken with a couple of potential buyers recently, and one of them seems to be the kind of person who would handle the company very well. How and when do I tell my employees about what is going on and what may happen?
In my mind, to be a good, effective leader you have to be willing to share and discuss things with your team—whether they’re good or bad. When talking to the folks at my company, I try not to get into a lot of unnecessary stuff, but if there’s any doubt, I’m going to over-share rather than leave them fearful, uninformed or confused.
Think about it this way. If the roles were reversed, and you were in their shoes, when would you want to know? If you’d worked for someone a few years, would you feel betrayed if you didn’t know about something like this? It might sound simple, but I think that’s a good, fair way to process the situation.
If I make a mistake with my team, it’s always going to be in terms of over-communication. I expect and trust them to be mature adults in the workplace, and they know this ahead of time. Still, I try to make sure I’m very transparent about how we’re doing as a team and as a company. No small business owner can be successful unless they have great people around them. Your team needs to hear that once in a while, too, in addition to knowing you’re always going to keep them in the loop and shoot straight with them.
Human beings just want to be treated with dignity and respect. They want to know what’s going on where they work. When it’s something that impacts their day-to-day lives—and potentially their livelihoods—they deserve to know the facts as quickly as possible.