December 21st, 2022

Transparency Matters

5 Ways to be An Authentic Transparent Leader

In today’s new era of business, transparency is an indispensable skill for CEOs and organizations’ leaders to master. Embracing a company culture where transparency is a key value is imperative to build trust in today’s fast paced changing economy. In this article, we’ll dive into the key benefits of building a transparent company culture, why authenticity is key in embracing transparency and 5 ways to master transparency as a skill.

Why Authentic Transparency is Important in this New Era of Leadership 

As owners, founders, C-Suite executives and heads of departments you gravitate towards bottom lines and benefits the organization will reap when defining core values, implementing policies and embracing change. 

Long gone are the days when employees of all ranks didn’t question how and why things are done a certain way. In today’s workplace, most employees and desired talent rank transparency high on the things they care about when choosing and staying with a company. According to Slack's Future of Work study, “80% of today’s workers want insights into how decisions are made at their organization and 87% of today’s job seekers want transparency in their future workplace.” 

Transparency as a core company value is crucial for an organization’s long term success, scalability and sustainability.

Key benefits of creating a culture of transparency in your organization 

Trust - When relevant information is shared openly, honestly and without a hidden agenda employees trust in the authenticity of their leaders and feel safer to communicate, give feedback and express concerns. 

Engagement, Productivity and Performance - Trust and open communication fosters an environment of ownership and engaged employees. This type of environment increases productivity and develops higher levels of performance across the board. 

Recruitment & Retainment - Your ability to show your company’s transparency practices throughout your brand, to job applicants and desired talent will position your organization as an ideal workplace. Recruitment efforts will see an increase in applicants who are truly interested and willing to be invested in the company’s mission. 

Innovation - Both management and employees feel safe to express ideas, find creative solutions and innovate when they perceive their leaders as authentic, transparent and trustworthy. A study by The Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies reported “when leaders share information, explain rationale behind decisions and express authentic vulnerabilities, it boosts creativity in the workplace.”

Future leadership - If you want to make a real impact in the future of any organization, you need to be committed to building new leaders. The benefits of shaping new leadership within are limitless. This is one of the most important roles for an authentic, transparent and committed leader. 

Clarity - Transparency brings clarity. For leadership, clarity around the organization’s internal politics, overall reputation and what is needed to attain the company’s vision and mission. For employees, understanding the company’s challenges will help them support leadership through changes and tough decisions.

5 Ways to Be an Authentic Transparent Leader 

Ask, Listen, Show 

Practice active listening, ask questions and show interest in their answers.Take the time to ask questions and be intentional when listening before responding so your team feels heard and seen. This will foster trust so they feel safe coming to you when things arise. The new era leaders are not those with the most answers… They are those who ask the most powerful questions

Be Honest, Open and Available

Honesty can be hard when the truth is harsh and/or potentially hurtful, yet is imperative to communicate with full and compassionate honesty. Explain the reason behind decisions, openly communicate about company’s metrics and make information easily accessible. Be upfront and sincere when you don’t have an answer. Encourage open communication, establish channels where teams and employees can openly communicate, ask questions, provide feedback, express concern and share innovative solutions to problems. Provide your members with frequent check-ins to create connection and continue to foster trust, frequency of open dialogue is just as important. 

Model the Behavior You Want to See in Your Team

As the leader, it is your job to set the tone for the rest of the organization. Exhibit the values that are important. Be open about successes, failures and willing to accept mistakes. As your team sees you’re open to accepting feedback without judgment, they’ll be more inclined to do the same. Speak about the lessons you’re learning along the way, share effective problem-solving skills and involve your team in the decision making process when appropriate. Show how vital it is to continue learning and growing professionally even if you are already at the top of your field. 

Demonstrate Confidence, Forthright and Empathy 

Confidently address difficult conversations and situations. It’s never about right or wrong, it’s simply about having more or less information. As a leader it’s important to invite disagreement in a way that is useful and functional for the end result and health of the organization. Communicate the high priorities of the company to all team members to help everyone understand what they are working towards. When having the difficult conversations head on show sincere empathy for all the parties involved. Finally use critical thinking to know where to draw the line. Transparency is about giving employees all the information they need to do their jobs and finding the balance to keep sensitive matters private. 

Collaboration, Experimentation, Innovation

Building trust with authentic transparency cultivates a sense of collaboration that allows for exploration and ultimately leads to innovation. When you foster creativity, give employees a safe space to explore and trust them to be a part of decision making processes, you start shaping tomorrow’s leaders. Implementing collaborative creativity positions your company at the forefront of innovation which is crucial in today’s fast paced world and ever changing economies.

Pivotal Points to Remember

  • Transparency multiplies the trust your company needs to ensure longevity and success. 
  • A culture built around trust, accountability, engagement and innovation is what makes an organization unstoppable. 
  • An authentically transparent leader is an inspirational leader, one that people want to follow and model. 
  • Embracing transparency as a core value requires work and dedication, but the tangible and intangible rewards are worth fighting for. 
  • The new era of leadership is here, transparency is just one of the skills required to be a successful and impactful leader.

Your Final Takeaway

Transparency Matters! 

The best way to ensure your continued growth as a leader of the new era is to keep yourself accountable through continued learning and self-mastery. Involving your teams in leadership development trainings is one of the best ways to keep them engaged, invested and on a path to long term success. 

Learn more about how the “Leadership Powered TEAMS and Masterful CEO programs can help you take your company to a higher level of success. 

About the author

I’m an executive and leadership Certified Coach, CEO Development Strategist and above all I’m your biggest champion. If you are committed to becoming the confident, innovative, compassionate leader of the future, my mission is to help you every step of the way there.