Some odd items were displayed very publicly in our office building. Being curious folk, questions were asked. First in private, then increasingly more public. I personally was asked a half dozen times before the electronic message boards lit up. Those that knew or had the power to find out were notably silent. Eventually the facts were uncovered (or hypothesized to the point that everyone was satisfied with the explanation), and it was a non-issue and the questions stopped..But — especially in a technologically-connected society/organization — so much more could have been gained by simply letting folks know up front. They’re going to find out anyway, and it’s damaging to morale and trust for folks to find things out through the grapevine. This is critical for any organization who depends on their employees/members to work hard for success.I learned this years ago as a high school basketball coach. Towards the end of an away game, we had a kid get shoved into the opponents bench and a near-brawl ensued. Words that should not have been exchanged were exchanged, and as I tried to corral these 14/15-year-olds and maintain some order, I was verbally blasted by an opposing administrator (who was also trying to corral MY kids, and not his own). The end-game handshakes were curt, and he tried to make a point again that I was in the wrong and when I bristled and shot back some rather strong thoughts on his ability to control his kids, I was faced with the (non-)professional equivalent of “I’m going to tell your mother” as he informed me he was great friends with my principal, and would call him the next day. I was advised by my mentor to be proactive and tell my principal first. I thought it would blow over and chose not to. I was wrong, and had to show up to explain myself later that afternoon. Since I was in the right, things ended OK, but I could have made a much better impression and gained a lot of respect by being proactive instead of reactive.When people start to ask questions that you should have already answered, you start on the defensive.
Don’t let “your people” find out news from other sources. Be known for providing information of value and concern to them.