How to Be a Best Places to Work Company: Transparent Leadership
In the fist part of the journey to becoming a Best Places to Work, I shared the three things that Vistage business leaders believe impacted their status as a Best Places to Work company: values, transparency, and communication. And I discussed how you as a leader need to live the values of your company each and every day.
In the book, The Transparency Edge, authors Barbara Pagano and Elizabeth Pagano write how the lack of transparency can impact a leader’s credibility and his ability to inspire employees to a greater commitment to their company. And it is only actions that can demonstrate transparency.
The authors go on to identify 9 behaviors leaders need to embrace and demonstrate consistently in order to be a transparent leader. The behaviors are:
- Be totally honest
- Ask for feedback from others
- Be composed during difficult times
- Reveal your personal side
- Keep Promises
- Own up to your mistakes
- Deliver bad news promptly, honestly and with concern
- Avoid language that is destructive
- Visibly show that you care
And as you increase your transparency, not only will you become a more credible leader but also your employees will have more confidence in you; and become more engaged and loyal to you.
Now, one of the hardest things to do is to be able to read the landscape when practicing one of these behaviors. As we all know everyone is an individual with specific communication preferences and each of the nine behaviors require communication.
In order to master the art of transparency, leaders need to gauge the amount of information employees are able to understand and handle. Also leaders need to deliver the information in a method that is respectful and caring to the people receiving it.
So where do you start to becoming a more transparent leader? My suggestion is similar to the authors; request a 360-degree assessment, which will provide you feedback on the 9 behaviors and a baseline to work from. Once you understand how you are being perceived in these specific areas, you can then develop a plan to improve. This is also a good time to bring in an executive coach who can help you develop the plan and coach you in the areas you want to improve.