Being transparent could be interpreted differently by different leaders. Presented is crux of of being transparent as heard from few leaders.
Being Transparent: Some Insights
Being transparent is a core value invariably adopted by every organization and a desired trait for every leader in corporate world, yet the practice eludes many. Market perceives image of the organization base on the leaders and managers that represent the company in front of customers, vendors and employees, the so called stakeholders.
A thoughtful glance in the market space will lead to organizations you perceive as being transparent in their dealing and the ones on the other side of the fence.
I have had few opportunities to delve into coaching conversation on the subject of being transparent. A definition of ‘being transparent’ has evolved and seems to be what is understood as below. More of a common understanding. An understanding can always be fine tuned with in course of further reflection. A person is seen as being transparent when she:
People who recognize ‘being transparent’ is an area that one needs to work on and seeks help of a coach may well be able to reflect themselves just by dissecting the definition above.
It is intuitive to segregate the various elements of ‘being transparent’ in the above definition:
1. Share, do not hide or conceal.
2. Information, rather factual information. Plain facts with NO additions and inferences. Inferences when drawn or assumptions when made must be segregated from facts.
3. Given context. i.e. in relation to the subject only.
4. Authority to share information. This takes care of information coming from right source. One may be privy to a lot of authentic information but may not be authorised to share.
5. Stakeholders. People who need the information to act further. Sharing something with any other person amounts to loose talk and gossip. May produce grapevine at the risk of being mocked. Who are these stakeholders (people):
a. People who you depend on. They will receive this set of information and use it to work on the task/ assignment/ project to achieve certain goals and objectives for the customer or organization.
b. People who depend on you to provide this information and will again use it further to manage their own dependencies. Very often for achieving common goals.
6. Authorised stakeholders. There could many stakeholders who are seeking desired information. However not everyone may be authorised to receive it. If all of them are authorised to receive the information, then all are equally privileged to receive the information together.
7. On time. Information delayed has its own implication. Moreover, information not conveyed on time also defies ‘being transparent’.
8. Without prejudice. This takes away selectivity of information sharing. Spirit of transparency is that all who need the information must have it in totality. It cannot have happen that some people have full information and some have partial. Every one has the same information in same detail.
Each conversation when explored with client coachees and mentees, brings forth one or more elements that need action. The ability of the coach is to reflect with client in a manner that she is able to identify gaps in being transparent for herself. What helps the coach is a comprehensive definition of transparency.
It may be worthwhile to observe that communication is closely related to transparency. In my view, communication is a tool used to establish transparency in the system.
What does ‘being transparent’ lead to? Establishing TRUST? Is that what you said? Then, I am in resonance.