Tips for Being Transparent
The skill, Being Transparent, is a key component of Developing Authentic Trust. In the Xponents’ workshop Context of Coaching, we closely examine the importance of Building Authentic Trust within an organization and the magnitude of transparency’s role in that equation. Being Transparent is about sincerity, honesty, real vulnerability, fierce conversations, grace, humility, and composure.
Transparent leaders are authentic and deliver their brand of honesty with respect and concern for others. There are no hidden agendas. Information is shared openly, yet appropriately.
Leaders demonstrate Being Transparent by:
- Being congruent between inner and outer self. No pretense. Pretending to be someone or something you are not will ultimately take its toll; both on you, those around you, and the bottom line of your organization. Make a conscious examination of your values, vision, mission and purpose, then align those elements with your daily life – both at work and at home.
- Creating meaningful connections with team members. You can fake genuine consideration, but not for long. Don’t force an unnatural or uncomfortable bond with team members, but do go out of your way to get to know each person on a real level. What is important to them? How do their skills and values compliment your team?
- Being sincere in word and deed. It is usually not appropriate to divulge all information without discernment. You don’t need to tell everyone everything, but never lie. Try phrases like, “I’m not at liberty to discuss that, but what I can tell you is…” People will respect both your candor and discretion with privileged information.
- Communicating both good and bad news. Just like you, your team needs as many facts as they can muster to make intelligent decisions, opinions, and commitments. Don’t sugarcoat bad news to make it sound better, and don’t downplay or omit good news for the sake of…whatever reason you’d do that. Just tell the truth simply, and with a touch of compassion when necessary.
- Revealing personal information within the context of work. Transparency is all about mindful revelation, so take advantage of opportunities to appropriately expose yourself once in a while. Meaningful connections are built on mutual respect and communication. So don’t just stockpile information about the people around you, share things about yourself to increase your own vulnerability and stake in the relationship.
- Responsibly sharing true opinions and emotions. As stated above, never lie, but be responsible in the manner in which you share with others. For example, express your concern or disappointment, but without contempt. Explain your reasoning for a decision, but not at the cost of someone’s dignity.
- Asking for feedback about their own performance. Don’t lie to your team, and take steps to ensure you aren’t lying to yourself. Ask those who you respect, and prepare yourself to accept their feedback with an open and gracious mind. While it takes courage to face criticism, appreciate the bravery it takes others (especially those whose jobs, positions, and wages depend on your view of them) to be frank with you.
- Owning up to mistakes. It’s not just team members; everyone appreciates someone who can admit a mistake. The act of owning up to a wrong turn or bungled attempt demonstrates humility and a genuine desire to do the right thing. Bonus: the more your team members see you modeling this skill (although hopefully not TOO often), the more likely they will be to return the favor.
A transparent organization will attract the best and retain the best. An opaque organization will continually deal with high turnover or a disgruntled workforce. – Richard W. Oliver
To learn more about ways to enhance transparency and the quality of conversations at work, contact me at 303-238-9733 or email me at [email protected].