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Tag Archives: transparent leadership

Water with text over it that says Is Transparency Part of Your Leadership Brand?
Background image by kalhh from Pixabay

When you think of a leader, what qualities do you picture? Do you picture someone who is competent, confident, and a good speaker? Do you see someone who can fire up the room and motivate their team? Or, perhaps, do you picture someone who is data-driven and brainy—someone who’s gears are always turning?

While these are all worthy leadership traits, I believe one crucial leadership component is consistently overlooked: transparency.

Without transparency, it is difficult to cultivate trust (for more on trust, read this past post!). People begin to wonder what you’re doing in the shadows, and question why decisions are made.

Being a transparent leader, means being honest. It means being yourself at all times (though sometimes you may be a more formal version of yourself, while other times you may be a more casual version). For a transparent leader, there is no room for being two-faced. I have found that people catch on quickly when someone isn’t being candid or is telling two versions of the same story to two different groups of people.

Another aspect of the transparent leader is courage. It takes a good deal of guts to be honest with your team when things are not going especially well. If performance is flagging or the company is going through growing pains, don’t hide those difficulties. Instead, engage your team and encourage them to become part of the solution.

Transparent leaders communicate. They keep an open-door policy, and welcome any feedback, thoughts, or opinions…even if some of what they hear is negative or critical. In fact, this kind of constructive feedback is exactly what an organization needs to grow and improve. Transparent leaders make others feel comfortable approaching them—they cultivate a spirit of mutual trust.

Take a moment to ask yourself: How transparent is your organization? How transparent are YOU? If your personal transparency needs a little work, take action!

  • Start talking to your co-workers. Be as candid as possible AND be a respectful listener.
  • Encourage feedback. Schedule one-on-one meetings to gain feedback and then ACT on sound suggestions or ideas.
  • Be vulnerable. You’re not perfect, and it’s okay for others to see that.
  • Facing a crisis? Don’t try to hide it. Be open about the company’s issues, and work as a team to solve them.

When you become an open and candid leader, a lot can change. You may find your relationships with team members improve, workplace culture becomes a little more open and honest, and you feel less anxious about having to hide business difficulties from your co-workers. In the long term, your transparency will hopefully encourage others to act in kind, which will eventually foster an open and communicative work environment.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
NOW LIVE: CHECK OUT MARGARET’S NEW ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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bill george quote

The last time I heard Bill George speak, he said something I’ll never forget:

“It’s the last three feet—The distance between you and the customer. Unless you’re a good person, you cannot be a great leader. The longest journey I’ve ever known is the path between my heart and my head.”

If you ever get the chance to hear Bill George speak, I highly recommend it. He is an inspirational and dynamic speaker with a clear message: In order to be a great leader, you need to be authentic.

Bill George is the former CEO of Medtronic and a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School, where he has teaches leadership. His book, Discover Your True North, is all about becoming an authentic leader by following your own internal compass.

Why is authenticity a crucial part of great leadership?

Because authenticity leads to trust and trust should be the foundation of any organization. If the leadership is trustworthy and transparent, then employees will feel comfortable and secure in the company. If not, employees will constantly feel on-edge or left in the dark.

Authentic leaders keep open doors and open lines of communication because they have nothing to hide. They make others feel at-ease because they do not have hidden agendas or motives.

And, authentic leadership does something else: It helps the leader. If you, as a leader, do your best to be transparent, candid, and true to yourself, you’ll walk through every day with a clear conscience, knowing that you are trying to be the best version of yourself. Your interactions will become more natural and you’ll find that others will open up to you easily.

In my book, The Ten Minute Leadership Challenge, I discuss authenticity at length, including strategies to become a more authentic leader. But I want to hear from you. What do you do to put your genuine self forward? What challenges do you face in becoming the authentic leader you’d like to be? Leave me a comment or contact me with a personal message.

Start embracing authentic leadership today!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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