Transparency is a foundational principle of quality leadership in the modern office. Today's employees need to trust their bosses, not just blindly follow their orders. They want clear workplace expectations and avenues to improve their professional development. These workers want to invest in a cause - or person - they can believe in, not just punch the clock to earn a paycheck.
An important part of becoming and remaining a transparent leader is being open during a time of change. Whether good or bad, when corporate change occurs, your employees will look to you for support, guidance, and answers. How you respond to this will determine if you are truly transparent in your workplace.
Why should you be transparent?
There are positive company changes, such as onboarding new employees or rebranding, that may not dramatically alter your workers' lives. Meanwhile, a majority of business transitions are difficult or even negative. These may include mergers, layoffs, organizational restructuring, and office relocation. To help your team stay on the same page and to keep them from panicking during these troubling times, you must be transparent.
Essentially, transparent leaders are authentic leaders. Through embodying this belief, you can earn the respect of your boss, coworkers and employees. Not only will they recognize you as a strong leader, but they will know you are a person they can trust and lean on you during difficult times. Here are a few ways you can remain transparent during a workplace transition:
Be willing to listen.
You must be willing to listen to you employees if you hope to have an opportunity to be transparent. Instead of just telling your department what you know and then moving on, open the floor for questions and be frank in your response and concern. Even if you don't have all the answers, they will value the fact that you are taking time to listen to their worries and do your best to provide a comprehensive response. When workers are concerned about losing their jobs or responsibilities, they need a transparent leader who is wiling to listen and empathize.
Don't sugarcoat it - or dwell on the negative!
Don't tell them it will all be okay, if you know for a fact it will not. For example, if you know that there will be 10 percent cuts across you department, the last thing your employees need to hear is reassurance that their positions are secure. Therefore, don't sugarcoat bad situations, but also don't overwhelm them with negative information. Be frank about the situation your company or department is in and then encourage them to come to you individually if they have further questions. Though you may not be able to reveal everything that is going on due to corporate policy, you can make the process easier for them.
Stand strong by your decisions.
You may have to make unpopular decisions or enforce challenging policies at some point in your career. While you might not always agree with the decision, you should still be transparent about what you think is right. Otherwise, your employees will doubt your commitment to them and your department.
When difficult transitions occur, employees tend to react differently - sometimes in anger, sadness or panic. As a transparent leader, you must stand strong by you or your company's choices and be firm about any decision that you make. For example, layoffs are never easy, but they might be necessary during a company-wide recession. Don't draw out the headcount-reduction process, but don't waver on your resolve either.
Check out our course "Leading with Heart: How to Build Effective Teams" to learn more about being a transparent and effective leader. At ProSolutions Training, we offer online CDA training for interested professionals wishing to gain more knowledge about their field. Contact us today to learn more!