- Posted by admin
- On August 7, 2019
There’s a misconception that great leaders are born, or that talented professionals can decide to be leaders and, overnight, step into the role with grace and excellence. Of course, the tenets of great leadership can occasionally be stumbled upon, but for the rest of us, leadership demands hard work and constant refinement.
Some of the characteristics of great leaders are easy to identify, and most emerging leaders are aware of them enough to actively work toward them – traits such as respect and authority. But there’s one particular characteristic that commonly gets overlooked, and it’s critically important if you want to build trust and camaraderie within your team: transparency.
There are a few possible definitions of transparency, so before I go any further, I’ll clarify what I mean by “transparency” as it relates to leadership. In this context, transparency is a degree of honesty and openness, executed so consistently that your workers trust in your candor. To a further application, that commitment to transparency often spreads to the wider company culture, promoting more honesty and candid expression among your team members.
While the ethics of transparency are generally positive and transparency can be argued as an ethically superior quality, ultimately, its use in leadership is geared toward achieving certain benefits for the entire team.
Transparency does not mean disclosing every little detail of every situation. Rather, transparency can be accomplished simply by NOT disguising events and acts as they unfold. Successful leaders know their strengths and weakness. They pay close attention to who they are and how their decisions and actions impact others. A manager’s tendency to secrecy is often reflexive, whereas transparency is strategic, targeted and purposeful.
A manager’s tendency to secrecy is often reflexive, whereas transparency is strategic, targeted and purposeful. Five things happen when leaders are transparent:
- Problems are solved faster
- Teams are put together more effectively
- Relationships are stronger
- Trust is greater
- High-level performance is common
BECOMING A MORE TRANSPARENT LEADER
It’s easy to talk about the benefits of transparency. Achieving that level of transparency is more challenging. Fortunately, there are a handful of strategies you can use to improve your own transparency as a leader, and cultivate a working environment that rewards equally transparent employees:
- Express your opinions openly. You may find this difficult, especially when expressing dissatisfaction, but honesty is crucial.
- Keep your messaging consistent. Expressing two different ideas on the same topic to two different employees can damage your credibility as a transparent leader.
- Keep all your commitments. If you can’t promise something, don’t promise it.
- Listen to the feedback of others. Even if you disagree with it, show your appreciation and respect for it.
Simply engaging in these strategies on an occasional basis isn’t enough. The key to building long-lasting trust is consistency, and only through consistent execution will you be able to see the benefits of transparency amongst your team.