People are respected — our colleagues truly care about what we think and how we feel plus are genuinely concerned for our overall well being and success.
Trust abounds — as we interact with our colleagues, we believe that they are who they claim to be and that their actions support their claims.
Intentions are honorable — our colleagues stay true to their guidepost of being honest, ethical, moral and principled.
Communication is free-flowing — our colleagues not only share information that is important to them, but they also anticipate then share information that they believe might be important to us. This of course excludes sensitive company information that would aid competitors or violate employee and customer privacy.
Actively listening is mastered — our colleagues recognize that the greatest gift we can give each other is the gift of active listening — our colleagues want to hear what we have to say, they give us the runway so we may share our message and then they invest the time and energy into absorbing what we said.
Agendas and motivations are fully disclosed — our colleagues never leave us guessing as to what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.
Good and bad news is equally encouraged plus openly shared and discussed — our colleagues adopt a “we’re in this together” attitude and as such, they not only share what’s working incredibly well, but they also candidly identify what’s not working well and why plus immediate and permanent solutions.
Engagement is high — our colleagues actively work at doing what it takes to sustain a culture of transparency.
With each of the above descriptors, add “and vice versa”. This is not just about our colleagues — this is about each and every one of us and how we must think and act in the workplace if our goal is to become (be perceived as) transparent.
For a culture to be truly transparent, each team member must consistently demonstrate the above behaviors. The reality is…that will not, most likely, occur. There will always be outliers in any organization who march to the beat of their own drummer. That said, whether you’re the leader of your organization or an individual contributor, the above transparency-enabling behaviors start with YOU. Being a huge advocate for meaningful metrics plus believing that shining a bright spotlight on desired outcomes is the only way to advance change, my suggestion would be that you create your own “How Transparent Am I?” Scorecard. Your scorecard might look something like the following:
Modeling a culture of transparency requires work, but the positives are many. From a company’s vantage point, operating with transparency is a competitive advantage. From a leader’s perspective, being transparent can move your team toward achieving extraordinary performance results. As an individual contributor, being transparent with your colleagues not only increases the likelihood that your colleagues will also be transparent with you, but additionally, you can look at yourself in the mirror each day and know that your integrity remains intact.