Communication with Transparency and Integrity
Why is Transparency Important?
It’s a challenge to communicate transparently as a leader. Even on our best days, the work in our division can be complex, political, and ambiguous. It can feel very vulnerable to share information openly and honestly when you know that others may have big reactions to (and big criticisms about) what you say, whether it’s giving critical feedback, sharing difficult news, or communicating about a decision made by others that will impact your team.
However, transparency is critical to staff engagement and trust. Being willing to share openly and authentically--even the hard stuff--demonstrates to your staff that you trust them, value their input, and view them as true strategic partners in driving the success of your team, not just “worker bees” who follow your direction.
Transparency can also pave the way for greater effectiveness as a team. Forbes lists five powerful things that happen when a leader is transparent:
Problems are solved faster because the team knows the true variables you’re trying to solve for.
Teams are built more easily because employees can more openly share their perspectives, allowing supervisors to better match employees to the right assignments, teams, and opportunities.
Relationships grow authentically because colleagues share their true selves and are open with each other, helping to avoid misunderstandings and unproductive conflicts.
People begin to promote trust in their leader. They not only trust the leader more themselves, they’re more likely to push others toward trust and generosity of spirit toward that leader.
Higher levels of performance emerge because of all of the above.
Efficient problem solving + the ability to build teams easier + the development of authentic relationships + trust = higher levels of performance
So much of communicating with transparency is about being mindful, proactive, and in control of your message. That doesn’t mean being perfectly scripted or automatic -- not at all! It simply means having a clear understanding of what you need to communicate and why it matters, so that you are prepared to navigate the challenges inherent in difficult conversations. The units in this module will help you to be more aware and in control of how you communicate, so that you can effectively tell the story you need to tell, and foster transparency on your team.
Here are 3 actions that you can do starting today to communicate with more transparency and integrity:
1. Prepare for tough questions that may be asked of you from staff. What are you most dreading to hear during your conversation? Prepare for those questions, as it will help you feel more confident going into the conversation.
2. If you are feeling anxious and uneasy about the future, state so. This will create the space to have more authentic and vulnerable conversations regarding fear that everyone on the team may be feeling.
3. Be proactively inclusive by gathering feedback and input from others early and continuously in the process. Ask them for input and solutions in regards to the changes.
12 Tips for Handling Difficult Situations (American Express Open Forum)
Ten Perfect Phrases to Resolve any Conflict (American Express Open Forum)