Leadership for Life – Transparency

By on August 1, 2012
Transparency

Our Leadership experts will be sharing tips and insights for everyone, at any station in life, at both home and work. Leadership for Life – the skills you embrace represent who you really are at all times.

When you think about any of the great (even good) leaders you’ve encountered in your professional travels, chances are they shared a common trait – transparency.

Transparency is not about airport security scanners, it’s about being open and honest with employees about what you’re thinking and feeling, and being willing to provide some rationale for decisions you make – especially the ones that will affect those employees. Some organizations have formalized this kind of communication and call it Open Book Management.

When sharing this kind of information with employees, you open yourself to possible criticism, so transparency may not be for those with iron-clad egos. On the other hand, when you model this kind of transparent communication, you are much more likely to get the same in return from your employees, with the potential for receiving important information that you might not otherwise have discovered. Transparency sounds like this:

“I’ve been thinking that we ought to . . .”

“I’m a little anxious about this change because . . .”

“I like (don’t like) that idea because . . .”

“This is going to be tough to swallow, but let me explain why I think it’s the best way to go.”

Being transparent with your employees doesn’t make you less powerful, doesn’t diminish your choices, doesn’t make you any more vulnerable. Transparency builds trust in your organization, and that enhances teamwork, while increasing the chances that your employees will be more open and honest with you when it really counts.

I’m always interested in learning more about how transparent leaders are faring out there in the real world. If you have any examples of good (even bad) results of transparency, I’d love to hear about them. I can be reached via comments (below) or directly at bschapiro@stlcc.edu.

About Barry Schapiro

Barry is the Workforce Solutions Group Practice Leader for Leadership and Professional Development. His experience includes delivery and management of business training in a variety of industries, with specialties in leadership, team development, generational diversity, and customer service. Twitter

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