Transparency is a new buzz word in the leadership world. Some people are naturally "open books", sharing anything and everything with the world. Others find it more challenging to reveal parts of themselves. One fact remains about transparency: when we see through or inside something, it becomes more real. When nothing is hidden, we feel more secure. We trust more, we ourselves open up more, and ultimately we connect more. Transparent leaders do many things that set them apart from others, but there are some actions that are nonnegotiable (in my opinion). I am growing each day as a leader, and place the following as high priority as I strive to build a healthy culture and empower others.
Transparent Leaders Dream Out Loud.
Transparent Leaders Share Failures.
It is time to face the incredible fact that failure is a huge part of learning. We learn from our mistakes which supports our decisions and actions in the future. Every failure is a stepping stone to a new path of learning. Our human nature is to hide our failures from the world, and be ashamed of them. We should be purposeful about doing just the opposite--we should publicly admit and share where we go wrong, helping others see us as human, determined, and willing to perservere.
Sharing failures builds trust and relationships because there is no blaming or excuses, just the mere admittance of wrong decisions made. Human error is expected, so why keep this from others? Let's all have the chance to learn from each other's mistakes, being transparent when they happen and reflecting on what can be done differently. This mantra of failing forward is part of building a healthy culture where taking risks is accepted. Sometimes we win, and every time we learn!
Transparent Leaders Are Not Afraid to be Vulnerable.
Transparent Leaders Allow Core Values to Show.I recently participated in a reflective Twitter and Voxer discussion through @leadupchat on "Knowing Your Why". Our purpose is what drives us each day; it is the inspiration we need to press forward toward our goals and dreams. Our "why" instills a passion within that resonates and spreads like a wildfire to others. Without passion and purpose, our core values are not evident to others. We should not have to articulate our values and beliefs continually, rather they should be evident in our daily actions, conversations, and decisions. Without transparency of core beliefs, people become confused about our intentions. Living out a purpose with a contagious passion is a driving force in leadership, building a culture where core values are at the center of every deicison made.
Being a transparent leader is not easy, and will certainly place you in the line of fire at times. The challenge is worth the effort, because you will gain trust and allow people to see who you really are. People will not doubt you, instead they will join you in your efforts of making a difference. What can you do today to become more transparent tomorrow? Go ahead...let the light shine through. Allow it to be brighter and stronger than ever before.
Join me April 20 for a discussion on Transparent Leadership via #LeadwithGiants chat. +Dan Forbes is the founder and host of Lead with Giants.