Being a transparent leader is extremely important for an organization and its team to thrive. Transparency creates trust and respect among leaders and their employees. When there is no trust or respect, a company is bound to fail, even if the idea of the organization is perfect. Transparency can also enhance growth within a team, as everyone is more up-to-date on areas that need to be worked on. Below we will discuss various ways to develop transparency as a leader, as featured in an article on People Development Magazine.
Firstly, you want to ensure that you are always honest, no matter the circumstances. Although honesty is much easier when there is good news to share, but being honest doesn’t have to be hurtful, especially when a leader practices empathy and compassion. If you are ever in a position not to answer something at the moment, be honest about not answering instead of giving half-truths or lying about a subject. Next, try your hardest to be open and accessible. Everyone will have to face criticism at some point, even leaders, and you want to make sure you are open to listening. Make yourself accessible for your team to ask questions and provide a company wide-channel for employees to express their concerns in a comfortable way.
Additionally, you want to ask questions and show interest in the responses. As a leader, you are the person that asks the most powerful questions, not the person that has all the answers to everything. One way you can accomplish this is by participating in Gemba walks. According to the article previously mentioned, this is a concept from lean production where the management team actively observes how people do their work, where it happens. You also want to be able to confront difficult situations. No one wants to deal with confrontation, but a transparent leader embraces conflict and invites disagreement in a functional and beneficial way for everyone. Clearing the air and coming to compromises before a situation blows up ensures a company’s efficient workflow.
Lastly, it is essential to provide access to information and involve people in your decision-making process. By providing information, you allow for more accountability amongst the team, which leads to less stress and scrambling around for everyone. Also, when you keep your team updated in your decision-making, you provide a fairer process with more room for additional good judgment.