Having access to the planning process or information about the future direction is a luxury in some organizations. The critical information is usually shared at the “right” timing from a top-down leadership approach. This approach seems to use information as source of power and being in the loop gives you an edge.
We heard a lot about the value of transparency in leadership. The power hungry executive will overlook the benefits of sharing information because it allows others to benefit from the information. These type of leaders share with only a few individuals for whom they can trust. They try to bounce their ideas off of a small inner circle of people. They often think they are the smartest person in the room and only need a few others to confirm their direction. This type of leadership creates a culture of either being in the inner circle or not. The dividing line is based on trust and support for the sole commander.
Leaders who have a desire to develop their people understand that having access to information is not just about power but can also be used to challenge those in the organization to grow.
The less people know about things, the more they tend to worry about them. Transparency benefits the people you manage. I have never seen employees freak out while having the opportunity to discuss potential changes. In fact, I have had them thank me for letting them be in the loop. If you are willing to share it, it shows that you value them or their opinions.
Organizations can’t stop the trickle down sharing of information. In many cases, the information that is being shared is not always correct. In this case, it becomes harmful or can be seen as a form of disloyalty.
Transparency in leadership builds confidence. The more people can see what you’re doing and how it’s evolving, the better. No one can fill in the blanks or share your motive if you are being transparent. Transparency builds a sense of ownership and respect for the complexity of the institutional challenges. Some of the best ideas I have developed in leadership have come from suggestions from people who work on the frontline.
At the end of the day, transparency and honesty is everyone’s responsibility. It’s not just the responsibility of leadership. It takes everyone on the team having a shared understanding and appreciation for transparency to take advantage of the benefits.
Running to win…GTR