Transparency ManagementThink about this topic for a minute, well, maybe a bit longer.

This topic really deserves your attention.

Did you read the Amazon article in the New York Times? Whether it’s true or whether it is not, it got my attention. If you did not read it, you really need to. It’s 20+ pages if you print it out.

The point I took away here is that leaders really need to be more transparent and really break down the silos. This is not an overnight process. Too many companies these days are learning more about this topic the hard way. Some cultures encourage sharing of thoughts and ideas and other work cultures foster a “protect the department” approach at all costs for fear of being cut or replaced.

Leaders need to improve their communication and show that employees are part of a special group that is respected throughout the company. There are many examples in my life where this type of respect has helped pay dividends in my career. Here are some examples:

  • When I taught at a high school, I got to know the janitor really well and when something happened in my classroom, (light out, sick kid, need extra table or chair) I had fostered a relationship that allowed me to go right to that person instead of the normal submit a requisition process.
  • In corporations, I made it a point to get to know the first-level IT support people. This way if my computer went down or I had an issue with the network or printing, I would call and ask for a specific person who knew the ins and outs of my computer configuration. In this process, I saved a lot of time going through the general issue-ticket system.
  • When I talked to peers higher than my position, I always asked them how I could add value to their processes. Sometimes I had the answers, and other times I took notes and worked behind the scenes to make that value request happen.

As a leader, I have found transparency works great in the following ways:

  • It holds me accountable to the work that I do. I want to make sure that if I ask someone to step up and produce more, I make sure that I am also producing work at a higher level.
  • It is critical to share experiences with others. People learn best when they understand more about what you value and look for in people.
  • In addition, professional blogging helps connect my persona with the company’s brand. Ultimately, I am a company representative so I need to be accountable not only to employees but also clients and others who are trying to understand more about the company.
  • Being transparent shows people that you are actually taking time to put yourself in their place as they view the company. The best view of a company is not through the leader’s eyes but through the eyes of its workers and clients. If a leader gets this picture wrong, it can be very destructive to the culture.

Being transparent does not mean being someone who gathers personal information on people or shares all personal activity in their own life. No one has the time for this type of business relationship. Being transparent is more about listening to other’s and fostering a culture of care and support. If leaders work more to address the needs and support of its employees and clients, it will ultimately pay dividends for the company.

Back to the Amazon article, the issue that struck me was why would these people and say all of these different thoughts about the company. Were these employees bragging or complaining. It appeared to me that there was not enough transparency happening on all levels. Were people confused about the tasks that they were given or the goals they were supposed to achieve. Were people really that overworked or were they concerned they had to accomplish all of these tasks by themselves.

Remember, transparency is not for everyone. It takes special people who want to share their successes with others. If you read the Amazon article, notice that few people in the article mention working with others. Most of them are focused on their own work. Transparency starts, when a person genuinely gets to know people at all levels of the company and respects the work that they do. If you want to get far in your career, start by building relationships that circumvent traditional levels of communication. This is where the power of transparency can be seen.

[Photo Credit: Pixabay]