Managing the Pros and Cons of Transparent Leadership

In today’s workplace, employees crave the truth.  Eliminating unknowns eases employee’s nerves and allows them to better understand and focus on the realities of their work situation(s).

Deciding to take on a transparent style of leadership (where you’ll speak openly and honestly about issues and future plans) can be an exciting and innovative step.  Make the process of embracing transparent leadership that much more effective and smooth by understanding how to manage (and master) the equal pros and cons.

Pro: No Room For Misunderstandings

When dealing with issues and problems in the workplace, transparency can serve your solution-oriented efforts well.  In many cases the misunderstandings that come about from gossip and rumors turn out to be bigger, more complicated issues than the problems themselves.  Employees may harbor feelings of resentment or distrust on completely false foundations creating a bad energy in the workplace environment.

Don’t worry about creating uproar when divulging the details of a specific issue.  Instead empower your staff by taking the time to explain why you want to be transparent with them and emphasize the need for a cohesive bond among the members of your team.

Con: Your Leader Is Human?

One downside of transparency ironically comes from identifying yourself as a human (full or errors and inevitable missteps.)  Employees take comfort in a leader that presents him/herself as composed and confident.  However, that may not be the reality of your business’s current situation.

Manage this downside with the understanding that while your staff may momentarily panic in the midst of your transparency, they also may grow to like you even more.  A humanized leader is someone who is approachable and willing to communicate with others.  Regardless of the anxiety your staff may encounter with the realization that you don’t always have everything under control, the omission can bring you all closer together the end.

Pro: Empowered Employees

When you set your emotional climate to transparent, you staff immediately becomes empowered.  Unlike team members who shy away from conflict, backlash and pointed fingers, a transparent environment welcomes employees to be upfront about their thoughts, process and results.

What’s more, a transparent team is empowered by means of openly sharing their questions, comments and concerns.  Just think of the improvements your business could stand to gain when your staff feels secure enough to talk honestly from a constructive and comfortable standpoint.

Con: Potential for Hurt Feelings

One thorn in the transparency rose is that of the potential to hurt feelings.  Especially staff members how have never worked in a transparent workplace, not everyone may be prepared for the free flowing honesty.  Make an effort to ease this type of tension by having a conversation about transparency before enacting it.

Make sure everyone knows where they stand and more important, that they understand that your collective effort in no way needs to attach brutal to their honesty.  People need to learn how to criticize constructively and keep the big picture (the success of the business and the tasks at hand) at the forefront of their thoughts.

What leadership style do you embrace?

About the author: Kelly Gregorio writes about leadership topics while working at Advantage Capital Funds, a provider of merchant cash advances. You can read her daily business blog here.



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