Transparency is commonly understood as "allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen." Just like everyone else, leaders tend to avoid transparency. They may easily hide mistakes that they do not want exposed. Whether it be a simple forecasting error, a missed sale, or a bad hire, it can be more convenient for a leader to either blame someone else, complain, or defend their actions. Transparency and vulnerability with others is not easy for people to do, however it is an absolutely essential lifestyle for any influential leader. Here are three reasons why.
It Builds Trust
Many leaders misunderstand the word transparency. Admitting one's mistakes, struggles, or failures is often seen as detrimental to one's reputation because it may reveal a lack of character or competence. As a result of this misconception, many leaders conceal their mistakes, become uptight, then lead as if they have something to hide and something prove.
The best leaders understand that transparency builds trust. They see how it can create a bridge of connection between a leader and a team. Despite what you may think, admitting your weaknesses and your shortcomings in the right way can often improve your reputation and credibility. Especially if you speak up before others notice your mistake. People will value and appreciate your authenticity as the real you is revealed. When you choose to lead a transparent lifestyle founded on humility, then you can truly become a leader with nothing to prove and nothing to hide.
It Minimizes Conflict
Whether it is a hidden agenda, a poor motive, or simply a flaw in our hearts, conflict always starts under the surface. Before you know it, your poor decision making or lack of understanding can lead you into conflict with the people you lead. Transparency forces you to reveal your inner self so that the light can pass through. It then allows you to be proactive, prompting you to uncover misunderstanding and expose your weaknesses.
As you open ourselves up to others and become honest with yourself, you are able to solve a lot of problems before they become a real issue. Relationships, time, and even money can be saved if you choose to address issues before they mature. The greatest vaccination for conflict is transparency, and when you embrace this lifestyle then you can live and lead with your eyes focused on the road ahead.
It Builds Camaraderie
Once trust is built and conflict is minimized, then camaraderie will begin to form and develop within your team. This level of teamwork is built by the means of positive momentum that can only be created through a proactive and consistent approach. As trust is built and conflict is solved, then camaraderie can truly begin to change a culture.
Camaraderie is built upon the realization that transparency allows you relate to another person in a very real way. Your team will know your motives are pure. You have nothing to hide and nothing to prove. Too often, titles and positions create gaps that prevent people from seeing the humanity in others. Even the best of us struggle, mess up, and often have no idea what to do in certain situations. There is no better time than today to break down the walls of pride and be open about your weaknesses so that you can thrive in your strengths.
Transparency is difficult. It requires you to look at yourself in the mirror, acknowledge your struggles, and be willing to admit your mistakes. Transparency is not confession, it's leadership. It's the process of acknowledging your weaknesses so that you can set an example of humility, and then empower others to do the same.
Transparency is not for the weak but for the strong. If you want to build trust, minimize conflict, and build a unified team, then let transparency be your difference maker. Let the light of truth pass through your insecurities so that you can be a beacon of light to everyone you lead.