We all gathered together to hear what the current leader of our non-profit organization was going to say. There were twelve past leaders eagerly waiting to receive more information and updates on a challenging staffing situation. We had taken time out of our busy work schedules to attend this special meeting. Although we were not presently leading the non-profit, we all knew what it felt like to be facing a difficult obstacle since we had been in the current leader’s spot at one time. We care so much about this institution and have volunteered many years to support its purpose. What was about to happen wasn’t unexpected but nonetheless extremely uncomfortable.The current leader began to speak, rattling off a series of directives and plans. Before he even came up for air one of the past leaders blurted out:“Aren’t you going to share with us what happened?”The current leader just froze. He then proceeded to explain how he couldn’t share anything with us. We were only there to carryout his plan of action as we move forward.An exchange of angry remarks from the disappointed past leaders began to ensue. The voices around the conference table grew louder and louder. Here we were with fiduciary responsibilities and yet were not given the necessary facts so that we could pitch in and help. This was not going well and the current leader was losing all of our trust. He was missing a critical piece in being a trustworthy leader – there was no transparency.
Four Advantages To Leading With Transparency:
1. Transparency Is The Foundation of Trust.
Before a leader can share their vision or plan of action there must be an open exchange of information
. You have heard the question, “Why should someone follow me”? Well we will never be influential or trusted leaders if we withhold data or important information. No one will believe us. No one will see us as credible. No one will trust us. In a time of crisis, a leader must communicate as many facts as possible so that their team can understand what has happened. We can’t expect colleagues to get on board to remedy an issue without full knowledge.
2. Transparency Builds Meaningful Relationships.
When leaders are transparent and willing to be open about a derailed situation, they begin to connect with others on an equal playing field. If our team members sense we are hiding the facts they will be reluctant to work with us. On the other hand if we share the truth about a problem we: Display our need for help. Open ourselves up to being approachable. Send the message that we value the opinions and suggestions of others. Create a dialogue about possible solutions.
Related: 5 Actions for Leaders to Take When Their World Is Imploding
3. Transparency Keeps A Team or Organization Accountable.
To march forward after a crisis, every team member needs to be given an opportunity to help rebuild. When information about the derailment is shared, leaders can kick into high gear with innovative strategies. The past leaders of my non-profit couldn’t become energized with the next steps. They felt betrayed and stuck. If they weren’t being told the truth about what occurred, they couldn’t take responsibility
in resolving it. And we needed all of their help.
4. Transparency Leads To Magical Results.
In our organizations it is paramount to be truthful with all the facts. One company I worked with had a senior team leader who refused to share all the information for fear of exposing too much. What resulted were missed deadlines and unhappy customers. The “wins” in a transparent workplace are: Engaged and loyal team members . Diverse opinions and perspectives to analyze. Camaraderie and interconnected teams. Higher level deliverables. How do you bring transparency to your leadership? How has transparency made you and your team stronger?