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Be Transparent

Be Transparent

Rabbi Evan Moffic writes in his “20 tips from Moses”,

“Certain conversations are meant to take place only between Moses and God. Yet, most of what he knows and believes Moses shares with the people. He is astonishingly transparent, as best evidenced during the construction of the portable tabernacle.

The Bible tells us Moses kept meticulous records of all the contributions and the way they were used. He made it clear he did not abuse his power and used all the contributions to build the tabernacle and glorify God. His transparency gave the people greater confidence in his leadership.”

Where do you need to be transparent? How might it affect those with whom you work?

One of the major surprises that Jim Collins and his Good to Great team found about true leaders was that ego-driven, charismatic, push-pull leaders rarely brought companies from good to great and if they did, it wasn’t sustainable. The traits of truly great leaders are gratitude, openness, honesty, sincerity, good communication, flexibility, unselfishness, responsible, intentionality, and transparency.

In Psalms 139:23-24 NIV we read; “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” As Christians, we believe that God knows every fibre of our being and if we entreat Him to keep us on the path of grace, truth, mercy, peace, and love, we will be doing right by Him and subsequently by all.

The funny thing is that God already knows all our offensive ways and whether we like it or not, many of the people who know us do as well. My mother, wife, and close friends can always tell what is on my mind and heart. They often encourage me not to play poker because my expressions and body language always give me away.  If you are like me, then it only makes sense to be transparent from the start. People are more likely to trust your intentions if you are consistent.

The most difficult thing is to get out of our own way! In Psychology Today, Michael J. Formica writes, “The ego is our greatest obstacle. It is what stands between us and awakened joy. The strength of the ego-self is defined by the degree of investment that we have in the people, experiences, and situations that surround us. By divesting ourselves of our attachment to the objects of our lives and becoming transparent to their impact on the ego-self, we become unassailable - emotionally and spiritually…. Being transparent means letting it - all of it - pass through us.” 

Why is Transparency Important?

Think about the people you like to be with? What is it that makes you feel you can trust someone? Usually, it is people who are genuine and, in a word, – transparent. According to the American Psychological Association’s 2014 Work and Well-Being Survey over 25% of workers don’t trust their employer and 64% felt their employers are not always honest and truthful! That to me is frightening. If people don’t trust their own bosses and companies, how can we as consumers? Your employees and colleagues are your front line and having them on your side is essential.

Equal to trust is “Psychological Safety”. Today more than ever people want to feel safe, safe in their home, safe at work, and safe in their country. Psychological safety is knowing that you can be who you are, not be afraid to voice your concerns and issues and be valued. The key to all of this is TRANSPARENCY.

Transparency promotes the feeling of being valued, trusted, and accountable, and results in better relationships. People also feel happier and have much more effective communication. It does require a degree of vulnerability, but the rewards greatly outweigh the costs.

It also affects the bottom line. When you care more, your staff cares more, your customers will feel the difference immediately! Whenever I walk into a store or engage with a new business, I can tell the vibe immediately and it translates to me deciding to spend my money there or not.

Bottom line: when more minds think about a challenge it usually brings about stronger decisions and more options. 

How do you demonstrate transparency?

There are many ways, but one of the most important is TRUST, trust the people around you! One of the ways people can trust you is to have an “ask me anything” policy. It is like the open-door policy but invites dialogue, it may sometimes be a tough discussion, but dialogue nonetheless. Another way is the let others decide things, when they are part of the process and involved, they have more at stake. As they say, when you have skin in the game, you try harder and feel you have more to gain.

Another important aspect of transparency when you are the lead is to explain your decisions. It shows that you have looked and listened to everyone’s thoughts and input and weighed the options. It is important for people to see the other side of things and it also gives you one more opportunity to hear out loud why you are deciding on something and if indeed it is the best course of action.

This develops genuine relationships which has as their foundation transparency and trust. This takes time to build and maintain, it starts at the beginning and is earned, not a top-down process. Unfortunately, when we are starting to learn about new people, our lizard brain unconsciously scans the other person and starts looking for chinks in the armour and any signs or clues as to their trustworthiness or other negative traits that we must watch for. Often what we find are only assumptions that we conjure up. Developing a genuine relationship starts with having the right intent and having an inquisitive open mind. 

How do you develop transparency in the workplace?

  1. It starts with creating a culture that supports transparency. Hire people who value and show transparency from the start.
  2. Many bosses or owners want to keep things, especially money matters close to the vest. They feel if they make too much, the employees will want more. If they are losing money the employees will get scared or defensive. With a healthy organization, one that values openness and honesty, sharing your successes and failures allows the organization to share in the happiness and burdens, and more often than not, everyone will want to do more to succeed.
  3. It is all about clear and consistent goals and expectations. Letting people know what you want to achieve, why you want to achieve it, and providing the tools necessary to successfully achieve what you require. With this extra level of transparency, you will probably get a better job done. Get on the same page.
  4. Have consistent and regular feedback/performance sessions. Developing this two-way conversation process provides a proven opportunity to share new updates, and company changes, provide room for clarification and allows employees a safe place to ask questions and give feedback of their own. If you work alone – ask your advisors and customers!
  5. Learn and practice better communication skills. Have your “team” take communication classes, it will help them at work and at home. As we all know, if the team has a happier home life they will have a happier work life, and the opposite is true.

Conclusion

If we can improve someone’s life by 1% and that improves our life by 1%, isn’t it worth it? We are all in this together and by working together we can make anything happen. It is the ultimate outward expression of “Love your neighbour as yourself.” 

Chuck Groot

Chuck has his CPA, MPA, MBA and his credentials as an author, teacher, business coach and entrepreneur are striking. His clients and students credit their success to his uncanny ability to get right to the root of any challenge that they put in front of him.  He credits his success to his clients and students’ willingness to being open to new ideas and desire in pursuit of excellence. 

As an entrepreneur, Chuck’s innovative approach has gained him both professional success and the recognition of his peers. As a teacher, he has the uncanny ability to connect with his students and teach difficult concepts and make them easy. His greatest delight is being able to share these skills with others and enabling them to be successful on their own.

 

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Bibliography

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