Transparency is tricky in the work place, right? What is appropriate to share and what isn’t? Does your title dictate how much you share? How do you foster credibility if you are completely transparent? How do you foster trust when you aren’t being completely transparent?
The more you know, the more your risk.
There are many places we share information about our work and about ourselves: private meetings, corporate functions, and LinkedIn. Each venue allows for various degrees of disclosure. As leaders, if we reveal too much, team members can lose confidence in our ability to lead (like when the VP of Security jokes about keeping his or her passwords on sticky notes) or maintain confidentiality (like when salary is mentioned during the introduction of a new colleague). Yet, if we don’t share enough, we are seen as manipulative and unapproachable.
So, how do we determine the correct level of transparency?
- Start slowly and take cues from other respected leaders.
- Be aware of what is considered basic professionalism and culturally acceptable.
- Withhold sensitive personnel information and keep trade secrets, secret.
- Reveal what you envision and what you value, frequently and consistently.
- Disclose lessons learned often and make necessary repairs quickly.
- Share with an intention of kindness, encouragement, and development.
- Share stories that only increase the likability of all characters involved.
- Use self-deprecation sparingly, but be ready to laugh at yourself.
Transparency is essential to leadership! Being transparent earns trust and builds rapport, unless we share too much (exposing ourselves and businesses to unnecessary risk). Respected leaders avoid both ‘oversharing’ and ‘being too guarded’. They are trusted to lead well and maintain confidentiality. They are also seen as straightforward and approachable.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She hosts global masterminds, called Synergy Groups, for REALLY BUSY Christians leading with powerful confidence and humble hearts. She works with high-performing leaders focused on organizational effectiveness by refining strategy, inspiring teams, and delighting clients. Michelle specializes in the areas of information technology, project management, franchise management, and business as mission. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 21 years.