[October 21, 2017] Corruption, moral depravity, cruelty, criminality… all these things are believed to disappear if only there was sufficient leader transparency. While perceived as achieving grand results, the truth is that while transparency is good it is also somewhat overrated in its effect. Transparency does work but few of us know what it is about.
The days of back-room deals, closed conference doors, and murky associations are mostly at an end. Confusion and overestimation of what transparency can achieve can be traced back to the idea of what transparency is and is not. Clearly, leader transparency is no longer an option … it is crucial to organizational success.1
Here are some organizational prerequisites that are good indicators that help the transparent leadership environment:
- Formal decision-making processes that are vetted, used, and made known to all
- Clarity and consistency in communication practices across the field
- Formal policies and regulations that are both fair and consistently applied
- Feedback loops that provide constructive criticism from all stakeholders
- Positive and constructive work environment supported by the senior leadership
Individual leadership is the core factor that determines whether any group or organization effectively uses transparent leadership. Advanced social technology today makes it virtually impossible for a leader to hide from the eyes of everyone; the truth will eventually surface.
The best leaders are those who use both organizational formal transparent procedures but also have traits that show people they can be trusted. When leaders live in a fishbowl where everything they do and a say is known to all, there are common characteristics that are useful and helps build trust.
Here are a few leadership qualifications to allow transparency work on the individual level:
- Consistent and predictable; especially about keeping commitments
- Candidness, honesty, reliability, and integrity
- Good communicator and shares the big picture, the vision, and mission needs
- Takes care of those under the leader’s responsibility
- Approachable, accessible, and open to feedback with a positive attitude
Ultimately, leader transparency is about trust. Those leaders who are trustworthy are able to build great organizations to achieve great results all while taking care of those in their employ. They have built solid relationships based on their openness and character and, as such, are easy to follow.
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