Granted, we live in the information age. But the real question is whether we live in the “too much information age?” In a news article by The Observer, Ray Kurzweil, Google’s director of engineering, suggested that the company would soon know more about us than we know about ourselves, including “every idle thought you’ve ever tapped into a search-engine box.”

While it’s important for you to be informed concerning your team members, I believe there are some things your team member should know about you. I don’t mean they need to know your personal information, I mean they need first-hand information about your leadership. There at least five things they need to know.

1. They need to know that you are capable.

Your team needs to know why you are the leader. You didn’t get the job because you were related to a higher-up; you got the job because you were well-trained, ambitious, honest, hardworking, compassionate, and fully dedicated to your mission. The things you say about yourself out loud or in print aren’t nearly as important as the way you do your life and vocation.

2. They need to know that you are dependable.

They should be confident that you are for them as much as you are over them. You affirm them. You guide them. You protect them. You know what interests them. You know the things they’ve done that are worth mentioning to others. They can depend on you.

3. They need to know that you are available.

They must know that your interest in them isn’t limited to a clock or a calendar. You may not pay the highest salaries, but you offer a shoulder of interest and a hand that reaches out to help. You listen with your eyes as well as your ears. You lead the campaign to comfort, encourage, or meet emergency needs.

4. They need to know that you are teachable.

They should know that you are a learner. If you’re not at the front of a training session teaching, you are on the front row learning. You take notes as well as give orders. You are a futurist, not a historian. You have an inquiring mind. You ask questions as well as give answers.

5. They need to know that you are flexible.

They need to know that if Plan A is headed for the dumpster, you are willing to go with Plan B. You fix and repair instead of condemn. You are willing to look for “Another Way” instead of staying on the “One Way.” You know that “Trial and Error” is a method not a law firm. You are willing to bend when someone is broken.

Because of your influence, your leadership will be something your team will always have with them—even if they go somewhere else. Be the “best practices” kind of leader, and you’ll always have great teammates.

-Stan Toler