In today’s workplace, employees want to have their leaders be transparent. In the old days, the “executive floor” had always been a place where decisions were made and it was assumed everyone would accept these “surprises”. Employees today want to work in an organization where leaders are proactive in sharing what direction the company is going, and more importantly, how they fit in the strategic plan.
This is easier said than done in some companies due to the nature of their businesses. There may be sensitive or confidential issues that need to be “kept under wraps” or strategies that the company is going to use to combat an aggressive competitor. That is not necessarily why leaders are not transparent however. Some may feel that if they share too much they will no longer be viewed as authoritative and they will lose the power and prestige they worked so hard to earn. Others may also feel that it takes too much time to broadcast the issues and that not everyone needs to know. The problem with that is that employees may start to spread rumors, etc. and then a morale issue starts to ensue.
The reality though is that employees want to be able to relate to their leaders, so by sharing information and building trust, it makes for a more cohesive culture. They also know more about their leaders through social media – not just their professional persona but also their personal lives too. This is not necessarily a bad thing but leaders do need to realize that they need to always be demonstrating a positive attitude no matter where they are. As we have seen in the past, some leaders have displayed “unleadership” like behaviors in their personal lives that have come to hurt their professional brand.
To build trust and show transparency, a leader needs to be amongst employees of the organization. They need to not always be in their offices or communicate mostly through email, but instead get to know employees via face-to-face interactions, or video conferencing if they are not local. By doing this, problems can be resolved faster and ideas shared quicker. In addition, leaders can identify those who want to explore other opportunities or have exhibited expertise that can be leveraged in another area of the company.
How transparent are you in your workplace? How do you normally communicate changes or new strategies to your staff? If you are not that transparent, what concerns do you have that don’t allow you to share more often?
Other “T” words to ponder – tenacious, tough, trend, and talented.