As someone in a position of leadership, the need for operational efficiency is always palpable. However, even before operations, transparency must be the focus; without the trust and loyalty transparency provides, optimal operations are unlikely. How do you arrive at the right level of transparency in your organisation, and what can transparency achieve?
How lack of transparency can have a negative impact
In a Deloitte article regarding big brands’ handling of consumer privacy, transparency is touted as the key to trust. But are leaders in Australian businesses employing that same transparency with their workers and stakeholders? Failure to be transparent about the state of your company, including goals missed or achieved, finances and possibility of personnel or pay cuts can be disastrous. Hiding information from employees can result in low morale, uncertainty, presenteeism, absenteeism and turnover. Failure to be transparent with stakeholders can lead to loss of confidence, distrust, and conflict.
Professionalism and efficiency
In times of stress at the management level, transparency can be your biggest asset – but only if you handle matters appropriately. You can share the good, the bad and the ugly, but lay out a structured format to highlight the positives and keep focus on actions that can be taken to maintain morale and forward momentum. Lay out the challenges currently facing your company, and accompany each with your plan to combat them. Doing this in a group setting can help you remain professional and efficient, and allows you to control dissemination of information.
Transparency also has the advantage of pre-emptively opening channels of communication. If you fear a Q&A would spin out of control, invite those with questions to send them to a centralised email. You can review queries and provide company-wide updates that address additional points of concern in a controlled manner. By being pro-active about transparency, you can effectively manage critical information across your organisation. Especially in times of change, driving transparency over operations could be the best way to increase operational efficiency.
What transparency can achieve
Transparency has many benefits, including raised levels of employee trust and confidence. Keeping employees informed on company changes, processes and strategies can have a significant and positive effect on job satisfaction, staff commitment and performance, and employee retention. Transparent leaders are typically held to a higher regard by and command more loyalty from staff, and can drive enhanced productivity in the workplace by mitigating uncertainty and raising morale.
Leaders who present with a high level of emotional intelligence and matching level of transparency receive a correspondingly higher level of trust and are perceived by staff and stakeholders as highly effective. Transparency is also an asset when dealing with stakeholders, improving communication and raising confidence levels.