Its visibility should serve as a reminder to all leaders on how a lack of transparency can dramatically impact your leadership credibility.
As a leader, you are probably on the top of your ‘transparency game.’ Which means, you are probably fully transparent in all of your dealings with your team, employees, customers, vendors and family … right?
Full transparency may mean different things to different people, but to me it means:
You tell the whole story – not just part of the story. Don’t hold back, make sure everything comes out. The tiniest detail of the story missing can come back to you as an effort to hide something. The trust others have in you may have a negative impact on you. There will be times you can’t tell the whole story (confidential matters / Security Exchange Commission matters) and that’s OK, everyone will understand if you explain why you can’t say more.
You always tell the truth. Communicate the facts. Don’t interpret the facts or embellish the facts. Doing so potentially creates skeptics and critics, which then tarnishes your trustworthiness and credibility. If this happens, who will believe you on other matters?
No hidden agendas. Hidden agendas are a tactic of political bullies. If you have a plan, be all inclusive. Ensure everyone knows the entire plan so it’s clear you are not trying to undermine anyone. This builds trust and respect.
Give your full support to others – not convenient support. Go all in on your support of others. You don’t want to be perceived as someone who is ‘window dressing.’ Someone who is putting on a show when convenient, but isn’t really committed to supporting others. Most people see through this quickly. I guess that makes you transparent, but not in a good way.
No excuses – embrace accountability and fix the situation. When you make excuses or try to deflect accountability, the signals you are sending is your leadership is weak. You’re expected to provide leadership not excuses.
What does transparency mean to you?
My leadership tip for you this week is to challenge you to have a ‘transparency’ discussion with your team. Articulate your expectations of them and encourage them to do the same with their direct reports.
You’ve probably done this before, but it won’t hurt to repeat, especially if you want a ‘full transparency culture’ to evolve in your organization.
If you have any transparency problems with your leadership or in your organization, now is a good time to step it up.
In the words of Mother Teresa; “Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.”
The longer you wait, the steeper the hill you must climb.