What is Transparent Leadership?

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by Peter Stark

In the past, management kept secrets from employees and decisions were made behind closed conference room doors. We are living in an entirely different world today where transparent leadership is not just an option, but is critical to the success of the company.

To be transparent as a leader has many different meanings, but the one that works best for us is that transparency is consistently behaving in a way that is predictable. This means no surprises. I believe that most leaders set out to be transparent, but it can be hard to measure if you truly are a transparent leader.

Here’s a checklist we’ve put together to help you assess if you’re on the right track:

__ Are you candid, honest and do you genuinely express your thoughts and opinions?
__ Does the message you are delivering remain the same, regardless of the audience?
__ Do you tell the truth?
__ When you can’t divulge information, do you let people know why you can’t disclose the information at that time?
__ Do you consistently keep commitments?
__ Do you handle your own defeats well, owning them and not blaming others?
__ Do you ask good questions, listen to the answers and remain open to new ideas?
__ Do you value the feedback of others?
__ Do you frequently ask others working with you, “How am I doing?” or, “What could I do to better support you?”

Today, transparent leadership is no longer just an option for organizations. If your employees don’t already know the truth about your organization, it is only a matter of time before they will. No matter how hard leaders try to hide the truth or cover up unpleasant or awkward situations, the truth will always surface. Reality is reaching employees faster than ever before.

Given this reality, the best approach is to be transparent; act ethically and talk openly at all times.

Transparent leaders are:

– Approachable and treat employees at every level within the organization with humility, interest and respect
– Good communicators, keeping their employees informed with the right information at the right time. When they cannot answer employees questions, they let them know why they can’t respond at this time
– Accessible. Employees know how to reach them for support
– Consistent and predictable. They demonstrate integrity by “talking the talk” and “walking the walk” on a daily basis
– Good at sharing the “big picture” with employees, helping them connect the dots between their job and the overall success of the organization
– Reliable. Employees trust them to do what they say they will do
– Open to feedback about their own performance and open to employees’ ideas and opinions

Transparent leaders are able to lead great companies and achieve great results because, over time, they have built solid relationships based on their integrity and character. They are reliable, predictable and committed to serving and supporting their team. As such, they are trusted and easy to follow, allowing them to achieve their goals, if not change the world.

Peter Barron Stark Companies is a nationally recognized management consulting company that specializes in employee engagement surveys, executive coaching, and leadership and employee training. For more information, please visit http://www.peterstark.com.

http://www.peterstark.com/2011/transparent-leadership-2/

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