Everything You Need To Know About Being a Transparent Leader

Transparent Leader

57% of workers who resign, do so, because they want to get away from a lousy boss. And another 32% are seriously contemplating leaving because of their manager. 

Despite decades of evidence showing that authoritarian methods don’t work, they are, unfortunately, still widely used. Many managers assume that employees would blindly carry out their directives. 

The team’s performance will suffer under such leadership. There’s little room for innovation or inventiveness. Managers who don’t believe in their staff treat them like prankish children, irritating them. 

However, good leadership improves both morale and output. Transparent leaders mold their teams’ identities and bring out the best in their employees. 

Lead with precision.

Use nTask today!

Transparent leadership implies leading with openness and honesty. Such leaders keep their staff informed, encourage the free flow of information, and promote open dialogue. 

Transparent leadership is one of the most effective leadership traits you can have. Transparency is a trust-building mechanism that boosts productivity, morale, and collaboration in the workplace. 

Furthermore, it’s a skill that few leaders ever master. 

We’re here to lend a hand. 

The significance of open communication is discussed in this post. We’ll show you the ropes and get you started on becoming a trustworthy and transparent leader. 

leadership as a project management skills

The Value of Transparency in Leadership and why it’s Essential

Leaders that are transparent share their true selves with their teams. To ensure that all people are well-informed and able to contribute to crucial policy decisions, they must openly disseminate relevant information. 

Transparent leaders don’t always have to spill the beans on everything to their employees. For instance, you would not want to publicize the results of another person’s performance review. 

But there aren’t many secrets worth keeping from your team. 

It takes effort to break the silence from the belief that “that’s none of your concern.” 

However, mastery is achievable with diligence. The benefits of practicing transparency are as follows. 

  • Deeper connections with others 

Good things occur when you are the type of manager with whom employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings. People who feel safe around you open up and become more connected to you. 

Your team will become closer as a result of these bonds. You and your coworkers will have a better time and get more done. All parties involved benefit. 

  • Defining teams with authority 

When you were in charge of a group, have you ever found that everyone relied on you for everything? The effort required is enormous. 

If you’re the only one in your firm aware of the big picture, people will look to you for guidance. However, they can make good choices if they have access to nearly all of your knowledge. 

  • A quick and effective solution to the issue at hand 

Individuals and groups perform better and more quickly when given the freedom to make decisions independently. 

You thought highly enough of your staff to hire them. If they have complete access to the data, they are more likely to generate innovative solutions to help your company grow. 

Don’t forget that no one component of your company is an island unto itself. There is a larger context in which each task must be performed.  

People who can see the big picture are more likely to make choices that benefit the company. 

  • Improved spirits and satisfaction on the job 

Open and honest communication demonstrates confidence in and appreciation for your staff. They have a sense of significance and value in their work. 

Workers are far more likely to remain employed in such a setting. They are satisfied that their efforts have been productive. 

Herein lies the most significant advantage of transparent leadership: 

  • Improved efficiency in the workplace 

Finally, everything comes down to outcomes. 

Teams perform better when there is free communication and trust among members. With more reliable data, businesses are more willing to take calculated risks, leading to increased innovation. 

There is a greater likelihood of people taking the lead. The staff has become more dedicated to the company’s goals. The improved and more rapid flow of information leads to superior results. 

Let’s discuss the steps required to achieve these outcomes. 

calarity in leadership - coronavirus

Being a transparent leader: A Guide

Keeping things open and honest isn’t always simple. 

When in charge, it’s natural for people to worry about the impact new knowledge will have on their team. Real honesty usually entails disclosing inconvenient facts. Common justifications include “it will generate rumors” and “people might panic.” 

One inconvenient fact for you: 

Assuming that your team members can’t process information as well as you can is a condescending way to treat them. You either think you’re better than them intellectually and emotionally, or you’re afraid of losing control over your team if you’re too open with them. 

These ideas are manifestations of a more fundamental issue that deserves its essay. 

Always act as if your team members are on the same level of maturity and competence as you. If you can handle it, your team is likely capable. 

Leadership that is open and honest (transparent) is demanding but ultimately rewarding. Here are two cases in point: 

A case of non-transparent leadership

Jessie runs a software company with 25 workers as CEO. Because of a major contract cancellation by one of their biggest clients, the business is in a precarious financial position.

Even though budget cuts and layoffs aren’t likely right now, the news may nonetheless cause concern. Such rumors can potentially lower morale and even cause key team members to resign. Jessie decides to hold off on informing the team till later. 

Instead of increasing prices, Jessie reduces the marketing budget. With her encouragement, the sales team has been able to follow up on more leads and close more deals so far this month.

There’s no point in telling the staff and making them anxious over a little issue like the fact that the budget will be tight until some new clients sign up. 

The team knows something is off, but they don’t know what it is.

They are aware that a client has just canceled. To me, that doesn’t raise any major concerns. Jessie’s reticent behavior has them worried that the business is in jeopardy. The rumor mill goes into overdrive, but no one voices their concerns to Jessie because they know she won’t listen. 

An important developer leaves just as Jessie is about to sign a significant new contract, preferring the stability of a larger company. As a result of delays on other projects, additional cancellations from unhappy customers occur. The remainder of the team has to work harder to compensate for this. 

When the company’s financial issues get severe, Jessie will be forced to lay off two more workers. Dissatisfaction and lack of output have not improved. Jessie’s business seemed to have taken a nosedive after she lost a single major client. 

Can you guess who Jessie holds responsible? 

Those in leadership positions, like Jessie, often make incorrect assumptions about the nature of the issue. They may conclude that people left because rumors spread out of hand. Maybe the sales team is moving too slowly to meet their needs. In their minds, perhaps it was all the team’s fault that they lost the huge client. 

The fundamental issue is poor leadership. Perhaps the team would have been able to bounce back if Jessie had been up-forward about losing a key client. 

A case of transparent leadership

Terry, the CEO, is in the same position and has decided to lead by example. 

Terry is reluctant to break the news to the team that the contract was terminated, but she goes ahead and does so. The team of developers discusses the client’s dissatisfaction and wonders what they could have done differently to keep the project. Because of this, we can offer some recommendations for enhancing the current procedure. 

A new marketer expresses concern over his future employment prospects.

Terry explains that they will need to cut the budget while they rebuild their portfolio but that she does not anticipate any layoffs. The sales group agrees to prioritize preexisting leads, while the marketing group discusses creative ways to acquire new customers within the constraints of the lower budget. 

Overtime pay is a contentious topic because of the associated costs everyone recognizes. Further, the marketing department puts in extra time and effort to bring in new customers. The service department concentrates on improving its current clientele.  

As soon as a new client begins working with them, morale rises, and they know they’re on the right track with their unique methods for rapid expansion. The team is prepared to expand within the next several months to accommodate the rising demand. 

Where is the distinction?

Jessie decided to keep the company’s financial status a secret in the first instance. She didn’t have faith in her team to handle terrible news with grace and positivity. The team sensed trouble and responded defensively. 

In the second scenario, Terry was determined to be open about the situation despite her concerns that her colleagues wouldn’t react positively to the news. The results of her faith were positive. The enhancements sparked expansion. The group devised strategies to deal with the problem at hand. 

To become more like Terry, consider these suggestions. 

The first step is to tell the employees about your business and your current initiatives

Trust among employees rises when their leaders are honest about the company’s present and future. 

They’ll have more information for making informed judgments. The resulting insights and ideas are better when frontline workers can perceive the large picture while also attending to the minutiae. 

What exactly should you tell them? 

The quick response is “as much as possible.” 

Some organizations are so open that they publish employee salaries. That may be too much information to share with your team if you’re just getting started with transparency, but other financial data may and should be made available. 

Don’t stress over whether or not every team member has the necessary background knowledge to analyze your financial reports. Everyone works harder than their supervisor thinks they do.  

After all, people should be able to understand a profit and loss statement if they can handle their money. 

Share not only financial details but also your plans and objectives. Justify your choices and the actions you’ve taken. Let them know the problems you’re trying to fix, such as low productivity or excessive turnover. 

It’s important to avoid taking final votes behind closed doors. 

It would help if you showed your staff some respect by letting them in on your plans and their reasoning. 

Second, always do what you say you’re going to do and follow through on promises

A promise violated is one of the quickest ways to lose someone’s trust. Be reliable and follow through on your commitments. Watch that your actions don’t contradict what you’re saying. 

Many CEOs, for instance, seek to portray an image of accessibility by, for example, keeping their doors open throughout normal business hours. 

However, persons in authority are unavailable whenever an issue needs to be addressed. Those who “complain” about their jobs are criticized. People can’t afford to take time away from their busy schedules to contemplate broader issues. 

The deeds don’t back up the words. 

When leaders make promises, they typically don’t have any intention of going back on them. One such example is as follows: 

And when you say, “I want you to have a life outside of work,” you mean it. Do not bring your work home with you. 

But you also send emails at 2 in the morning. Instead of applauding parents who ignore their phones and spend more time with their children, you reward those who put in long hours.  

If you’re looking to promote someone, it’s best to go with someone who never leaves the workplace rather than someone who has a life outside of work. 

You claim (and think) to place a premium on striking a good work-life balance. However, your behaviors demonstrate that you place a premium on going above and beyond in your work. 

To improve, follow these three guidelines: 

  • First, get some assistance identifying your blind spots
  • Check what you’re saying
  • Change up what you’re doing

In any endeavor, the first step is always the most challenging. 

Request that your group point out any inconsistencies in your thinking. Trust must be established before people feel comfortable telling you when you’ve said one thing but done another. 

Pay attention to the things you promise as you become more adept at identifying your blind spots. Before you say it, make sure you know what you mean. 

Assume that you want your team to provide more ideas for the sake of argument. I don’t think titles are necessary,” you say. In this setting, everyone’s opinion is valued equally. I’m curious as to the ramifications of this in other contexts. Do you believe this, or do you want additional ideas from your team? 

Keep an eye on your actions after that. Since no one is flawless, your employees will respect you more if they sense that you’re striving toward excellence. 

The third step entails making room for both individual and group comments

Honest criticism can be challenging to deliver. Sometimes employees are worried that if they say or do something that offends them, it will reflect poorly on them and their job security.  

Leaders frequently suffer from massive blind spots because they cannot read their subordinates’ minds. 

When you’re open and honest with your team, they know they can trust you and open up. 

Trust can also be gained by actively responding to comments and concerns raised by your audience. It’s on you to establish the value of taking a chance, to tell the truth. 

One of the best ways to get your staff to open up to you is to seek their input constantly. Make it a habit to solicit feedback from those around you regularly. 

When leading distributed teams, this is of paramount importance. When you don’t see your staff very often, it’s easy to forget to check in with them. 

Assigning tasks to a team member without first getting their input on things like workload, project value, and priority can backfire. 

Make sure your regular routines are successful by asking about them when you check in for an update. 

As deadlines approach, it’s important to assess whether or not there was anything you might have done to make completing the work easier for your team. 

Consistently soliciting feedback is only the beginning. As trust grows, members of your team will come to you willingly. 

Establish confidential feedback loops. Things to think about

  • Time set out during the week for one-on-one meetings between members of your staff
  • Forums for suggestions and comments on Slack
  • Staff members can provide feedback without revealing their identities by using anonymous feedback options

The fourth step, accept constructive criticism 

Northeastern University’s professor of psychology David DeSteno, claims that the more influential someone is, the less trustworthy they are seen to be. 

It’s not easy to put your faith in the leader. 

Thus, it would be best if you did not imperil your team members’ confidence when they confided in you. Be receptive to feedback but treat it with gratitude and maturity. 

Consider the issue from the viewpoint of your worker: 

They believe they have angered the boss if they tell you something and you respond defensively. They fear for their jobs and are unlikely to reveal any information that could offend them. 

If you can’t handle criticism well, you can’t be open. Without openness, there can be no transparency. 

Defensive teams are more likely to keep information from you. It also sends the message that you are trying to keep information from your team. You probably don’t share information with the team because of your reluctance to confront potentially awkward situations. 

Fifthly, acknowledge the work of others and take personal responsibility.

Recognize and reward your staff frequently 

Never claim individual credit for a team’s success. 

You know that being acknowledged is a crucial element of becoming a leader. It is a highly effective trait for a leader to be open and honest. 

Taking the time to recognize the efforts of both individuals and groups shows that you care about the results. 

Leaders are responsible for being abreast of developments at the highest levels. However, your group thinks you have a better grasp of the situation since you can put a face to the work that was done. 

By informing workers of the successes of their colleagues, you show that you encourage open communication. 

But what happens if things don’t go as well as planned? Deadlines will be missed, projects will fail, and clients will cancel. 

As a rule of thumb, you should always be quick to praise and slow to blame. 

An employee should not be singled out for blame when things go wrong. To do so will only make you appear to be a weak leader. Instead, own the situation and keep praising your employees for their achievements. 

You should know that taking on blame is not the same as accepting responsibility. The term “responsibility” simply refers to the duty vested in a leader to face and conquer obstacles. 

Take responsibility for your issues without denying the reality of their origins. What should you do if a teammate of yours makes a bad choice? 

Leadership examples characterized by transparency

Several models of transparent leadership have been presented throughout this article. 

Don’t take our word for it, though; there are other sources you can consult. 

We polled CEOs on the effects of transparent leadership on their organizations. This is what they spoke out: 

Productivity rises along with the level of trust among coworkers

While the CEO of Intralinks, Jim Dougherty, increased the company’s signings from zero to one hundred fifty in ten weeks, he also raised revenue by almost 600% while decreasing employee burnout.  


Trust within the group was crucial to the success of this initiative. Leaders-in-training would remember that their subordinates often hold the key to the company’s success.  

Every new leader should make it their top priority to open lines of communication with these critical employees. 

Talent is attracted to integrity

The practice of transparency is not restricted to private discussions. 

Kapwing’s CEO, Julia Enthoven, uses the business blog to discuss typically prohibited topics within other organizations. She has discovered that this rule makes hiring talented individuals easier for her organization. 

Staff members will feel more confident if their ideas are heard and respected

Leaders who take the time to listen to their people will be noticed. Not complying with their request doesn’t negate the value of your attention. 

To that end, Simon De Bane, CEO of Officevibe, GSoft, and ShareGate, advocates for a frank discussion. 

Just because people complain about a problem doesn’t mean you have to do something about it, but you can bring attention to the issue by discussing it. Most of the time, all anyone wants is to have their voice heard. 

The most effective teams are those with high levels of open communication

SquareFoot was established by Jonathan Wasserstrum, who also serves as its CEO. Withholding knowledge, in his opinion, causes teams to become “cynical or distrustful.” 

Instead, he holds regular team meetings where employees are encouraged to voice their concerns and ask questions about the business. 

When people on your team know what you’re focusing on, they’re more likely to volunteer to help and offer suggestions you can implement. 


In conclusion, transparent leadership is crucial for creating a productive office environment. It entails being forthright and honest with workers, laying out objectives and expectations, and taking personal responsibility for one’s conduct.  

Leaders may improve morale and productivity in the workplace by setting an example of openness and honesty. Leaders must be familiar with and proficient in all appropriate means of contact with their teams.  

Recognizing that different cultures have distinct norms and expectations regarding transparency is also essential.  

A transparent leader is upfront and honest, is not afraid to acknowledge they don’t know something, and encourages others to do the same.  

Be honest, set a good example for your team, and treat others with kindness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



Improve team communication
& work visibility today!

Improve team communication & work visibility today!

Join Over 250,000+ Smart Teams for Free
  • Client logo
  • Client logo
  • Client logo
  • Client logo
  • Client logo
  • Client logo
By signing up, I agree to the nTask Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.