• Tony Richards

How Your Mileage May Vary on Transparency


Trust is the Holy Grail for leaders and teams in their pursuit of alignment and productivity in organizations. As I am sure you are aware, we are also in a growing environment of distrust, cynicism, and misinformation. That means it's getting harder and harder for leaders to build trust in their organizations, as employees live in this world of distrust and then they transition daily to the workplace and we expect them to automatically change their feelings when they are in our organizational environments for 8-10 hours daily.


It isn't that easy.


In Patrick Lencioni's work "The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team," his model uses trust as the foundation to build upon and then hopefully you can have consistent transparency as the pinnacle of the model. Outside of Lencioni's excellent model is the fact there are different levels of transparency when it comes to our relationships with others. Some people are barely transparent in that they barely share any personal information, preferring to stay as private as they can. Others fall into the middle of the spectrum, they will willingly share personal information, with a deep understanding and awareness of what is personal and what is confidential. They are very good at choosing when to share and when to stay silent.


The third group of people lay it all out there. They will post every detail of their food choices, physical injuries, and opinions on social media. They will take over all of your time if you allow it with fine minute details about their issues and problems, many of which you didn't even care to know. They make all of their stories and experiences public for all to see, including both close friends and complete strangers.


Where you may fall in this transparency spectrum depends on your purpose for transparency. Transparency for only the purpose of being transparent is not necessarily healthy. On the other hand, if you are leading in an organization and you are trying to be transparent for the objective of growing trust with your team and employees on the whole, you can leverage this to benefit those around you.


A key question you'll want to ask yourself is: What is the purpose of my being transparent in this particular situation?"


This can help you think through the appropriate level of transparency you, may want to consider before you act. Once you become masterful at choosing the proper level of transparency with good, healthy reasons backing your decision, you can utilize transparency to bring trust and transformation in your organization.


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