A Modern Leader’s Guide to Organizational Transparency

Increasing transparency between leadership and employees can be challenging, but the numerous benefits that more transparency can bring to your organization only highlight how important it is to embrace it.

Organizations with a high level of trust and transparency in the workplace are the ones that are most likely to have the highest performers. Openness between managers and the workforce is a low-cost way to make the difference between an unmotivated workforce and an engaged, productive, and innovative team.

And even more, a work environment where people trust each other promotes better relationships, enables greater collaboration, and encourages team efforts and reciprocity. This is a win-win situation for both the company and the employees.

So, how can you create this “in-it-together” mentality and help your company thrive? This article is designed to guide modern leaders on fostering a culture of open communication, so keep reading!

1. Start by setting an example

Employees everywhere want to have greater clarity and be aware of what is true and real. They value a workplace culture that prioritizes delivering the truth. Most of the responsibility for fostering organizational transparency lies with management.

So, the first step in encouraging transparency is setting an example for your employees to follow.

What does this mean for modern leaders aspiring to achieve greater transparency? They have to be open with their teams, sharing proactively and honestly where the company is headed.

Also, they need to share relevant information freely, so everyone is informed and involved.

2. Create a safe space

If you want to move your business forward, it is important to create an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable to ask for help and share a lack of knowledge if they can’t get a task done or don’t understand how to complete a part of it.

Creating what is known as a “psychologically safe space” requires a high level of transparency. Hence, employees feel confident and comfortable enough to speak up and be honest with their leaders.

And what’s most important, they mustn’t be punished or ostracized for either seeking help or not knowing something.

3. Make room for questions and concerns

When it comes to day-to-day questions about business operations like various reports or travel booking, the best way to handle them is to create dedicated channels or team email alias. And regarding questions that fall outside of day-to-day operations, make sure not to neglect them.

If you just announced a big organizational change, invite your staff into a public forum where authority will address any question and concerns directly.

For example, Slack has a dedicated “ask me anything” (AMA) channel, but you can also schedule a live Q&A forum or a time-bound virtual AMA.

4. Build an infrastructure that facilitates communication

Having a reliable and fast infrastructure for internal communications is vital as it will allow you to communicate with your team smoothly and frequently.  Instant messaging apps and other instant messaging tools are excellent vehicles for conducting day-to-day interactions.

These communication channels are especially important for remote workers, as they are the most likely to feel isolated and disconnected from the in-house staff.

So, leaders should put effort into providing employees with space for work-related and non-work discussions. Also, when it comes to remote teams, employee engagement tools are essential in boosting team morale and empowering your staff to deliver top-notch service.

These specialized tools empower managers and simplify their work and allow them to make smart business decisions.

5. Don’t avoid potentially controversial topics

Real transparency can be challenging as it often involves sharing uncomfortable truths. Don’t assume your team can’t handle them, and don’t avoid difficult subjects. Instead, take the proactive approach and address these topics.

Imagine that a new policy is about to be established, and you are aware it will cause disagreement. When you announce the changes, make sure to acknowledge that it may be hard to hear about them, and then explain why it’s important.

This kind of interaction goes a long way and proves that you as a leader are in touch with your team and treat them like they are stable, mature, and capable.

6. Encourage staff to actively participate and ask for feedback

One of the best ways to facilitate trust and demonstrate that you value your employees is to encourage them to actively participate in planning daily activities and strategic planning. Workers’ participation helps motivate and stimulate the hidden talent in the organization.

When employees have a say and can influence a company’s decisions, it leads to their greater satisfaction, greater productivity, increased trust and support, and reduced resistance to change.

Feedback on what’s working and what’s not is also important, so make sure to frequently ask for honest feedback and act on it! When you are transparent with your team, they will feel safer to be candid with you.

In the end, remember that transparent leadership can be tough, but it always pays off. The more open you as a leader are about the current status of your organization and its future, the more your employees will trust you.

Respect your team and watch the atmosphere and engagement change for the better!

About the Author:

Sophia Smith is a lifestyle and social media blogger, and graphic and UX designer. She is an aesthete and photography lover by heart who absolutely loves everything that includes visual communication. Sophia is also very passionate about yoga and mindful living. Lately, she writes about digital marketing topics, from content to social. She has contributed to a number of publications including Women Love Tech, Leader Maker, Legal Reader, Businessing Mag, Ruby Connection, Monterey Premier, and many others.

You can find out more about her writing by following her on Twitter.