Today I met with Bill Payne, good friend, long-time SpringHill board member/supporter and Chief of Staff of Amway Corporation. Every time I meet with Bill we have an excellent conversation and I walk away being challenged and/or having a new idea or perspective on some subject.
Our conversation today ended up on the topic of transparency in leadership and within in organizations. We both acknowledged that transparency is essential to a healthy organization and for effective leadership. This led me to further thoughts on the necessity of transparency in leadership and within organizations. But first a definition of transparency.
Transparency is where one can see something clearly. Clear glass in transparent, frosted or dirty glass is not. When there is transparency there is nothing the hides or blocks ones view. We see things as they are with no distortion. With this definition in mind here are some thoughts about why we need transparency in our lives, leadership and organizations:
Where there is transparency there is:
- Trust – because everyone knows what everyone else knows.
- Accountability – which leads to better performance and higher personal integrity.
- Teamwork – because shared knowledge and information creates shared power and responsibility.
- Respect and appreciation for the work and lives of others.
- Truth is held in the highest honor.
Where there is little or no transparency there is:
- Lack of trust because where there is a lack of information people tend to assume the worst.
- Little accountability but instead unclear responsibilities, goals and expectations.
- Silos, in fighting, territorialism.
- Cynicism, back biting, gossiping and arm-chair quarterbacking.
- Where the truth is bent, massaged and manipulated to protect, hide and cloud issues.
When you look at the two lists it’s obvious which option is the best for our relationships, leadership and the organizations we serve, support and endorse. One might say there is risk to being transparent and in some cases there maybe, but the reality is that the risk is small compared to the risk on not being transparent.
We desperately need to be transparent as people then as leaders, followed by assuring transparency in the organizations we serve in, work for and support. It’s the foundation that our lives, our leadership and the organizations we serve need for reaching their full potential, doing and being all that God intend us and our organizations to be.
If you have some other qualities to add to one of the lists above please pass them on, we will add to the above list.