Rose O, Sherman, EdD, RN, NEA-BC
Our young Millennial graduate students often tell me that they have grown tired of working in environments where there is little transparency in decision making and they often cannot trust their leaders to provide them with accurate information. The Gallup organization which has studied tens of thousands of employee over the past 30 years finds consistently that what staff value most in their leaders are the qualities of trust, compassion, hope and the ability to provide them with stable environments.
Being transparent as a leader can be a very powerful thing. Transparent leadership is the key to fostering a culture of trust between leaders and their employees. Employees who are kept in the loop and understand their role in the overarching purpose and goals of the company are, understandably, more likely to put their trust in their employer.Your staff does not expect you to have all the answers but does want the truth. This may mean sometimes having to say that there are certain things that you cannot discuss at this time but will as soon as it is OK to share them. Staff want you to be humble and even vulnerable.
Glen Llopis (Forbes Blog 2012) gives the following five good reasons to be transparent:
- Problems can be solved faster – staff often have remarkably good suggestions to solve problems if you have been transparent and they know they have all the information. But there must be honesty and good faith. I am aware of the organization that gathered employees to discuss budget cutting measures in a large non-profit but that same weekend an article was published in the local paper about high executive salaries in that organization.
- Teams are built faster – in a culture of trust and transparency, the stages of team development usually can move more quickly.
- Relationships grow more authentically – Llopis makes the point that transparency allows relationships to mature faster, as openness can potentially avoid misunderstandings that can fuel unnecessary tension.
- Staff promote trust in their leader – when leaders are transparent, people can be much more objective in evaluating the pros and cons about their leader. Through transparency especially in difficult situations, you actually strengthen your leadership as people begin to trust you as person and thus will respect you more as a leader. They will also share that trust in you with colleagues.
- Higher levels of performance emerge – staff feel much better about their work when they feel that they are in the know about what is happening in their organization – the good, the bad and the ugly. It is energizing to feel like you are part of a cohesive team.
Unfortunately, the lack of transparency that still exists among leaders in many healthcare workplaces. The irony is that it is the leader who loses in the long-run because performance will never reach the levels that could happen in culture of transparency.
© emergingrnleader.com 2018