5 tips that promote transparent leadership and how to gain the respect and trust of your employees with it5 min read

transparent leadership

You must have met many leaders throughout your life and have been a witness to various kinds of leadership styles. You may have met a leader with this cool, mysterious aura around him, or one who is charismatic and manages to charm his staff with the way he speaks. There is also that leader who manages to instill fear in the workplace…

So what kind of leader should you be? Well – it depends on what the modern worker wants.

Have you ever thought of what kind of leadership style to adopt? Today, millennials are no longer looking for a 9am – 5pm job that pays off the bills. They are also seeking a community with strong, meaningful relationships. Adopting a transparent leadership style suits today’s climate the best. The benefits of being a transparent leader is often overlooked, but think about it. Given that you and the rest of your employees spend most of their time at the workplace that the office space kind of becomes second home, building trust among your employees is like having that X factor in your company. And that is where having a transparent leadership comes in. A transparent leader is one who open and honest, and intentionally creates a work environment that is able to generate trust and engagement.

If you are looking to create this sort of workplace, here’s 5 tips for you to help you become a more transparent and effective leader.

Tip 1: Transparent leaders know they’re not superhumans and embrace feedback

The key to adopting a transparent leadership style is to be open to any form of feedback. Let’s face it, being a leader can be tough. Especially when there are disagreements and conflict. You might even get criticised!

Being a transparent leader means you have to be open to feedback and welcome any criticism that may come your way. Make sure to listen carefully to your employees’ feedback and follow up with an action plan if you agree with them. If you do not, explain to them why you don’t and get them to see things from your perspective. The aim should be to create a constructive and honest relationship with every employee.

Tip 2: Step up and be honest with your limitations

No one likes to admit their mistakes. However, it’s a pretty ballsy thing for any leader to do. Many employees respect leaders who aren’t afraid to be honest about their weaknesses. Show a little humanity! Say things like, “Our performance is dependent on my leadership, and I know that sometimes I take a little too long to get back to you when you need help. I’ll work on that.”
It’s how you can create a workplace culture that is positive and trusting. You encourage your staff to feel okay about admitting their own mistakes, which helps them to perform better. You also build a community of acceptance and one of meaningful relationships, and that is far more rewarding than anything else.

CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, had this to say:

“You have to be honest and authentic and not hide. I think the leader today has to demonstrate both transparency and vulnerability, and with that comes truthfulness and humility.”  

Tip 3: Sharing is caring… so share your information freely


Leaders sometimes have an inclination towards withholding information from their staff rather than sharing with their staff about where the organisation is heading towards and what the organisation’s strategies and visions are. Don’t be afraid to share such information with your staff freely because more than often, your employees would not want to be kept in the dark about certain matters, and prefer their bosses to be honest with them.

For example, some information that you may want to share with your staff could be the company’s financial statement. While it can be difficult to reveal such information to your staff during a bad financial year, making such information accessible to your employees will

allow them to link their performance to the company’s. Saying something like, “We took a bit of a hit this year financially, but here are our plans for the new year…” will do more good than you think!

Tip 4: Get your staff on board in making decisions as part of transparent leadership

One critical step in adopting a transparent leadership style is to get your employee involved in important decision-making processes for the company. Such involvement can include things like getting ideas from your employees on how a particular crisis at a project should be solved, or which particular strategy the company should take for the year. Allowing your staff to be involved with these decisions show that you trust your staff and value their opinions. Good questions to ask include: “What do you think about this?” and “How do you think we can make this even better?”

Tip 5: Create open channels for communication ‘cos that’s where all the magic happens

Being transparent is all about sharing information, being honest and genuine. This doesn’t mean sitting behind your computer screen, sending out formal emails all day. Instead, try to make things personal.

Organize weekly face-to-face meetings where you and your employees can interact frequently. Through regular contact and interaction with your employee, you get to know them on a more. Doing so can boost the cohesiveness of the team, while allowing transparency and trust to flourish within your workplace. And it’s always nice to be a chum to everyone! 😉

The key to winning over your employees? Transparent leadership.

The importance of having a transparent leader tends to be overlooked. However in this day and age, being an open, honest and genuine leader is more valued than anything else. Gone are the days where people want a traditional form of corporate hierarchy and a top down style of management. Increasingly, many millennial professionals today prefer leaders who are more transparent, more collaborative and more approachable. So if you are a boss who’s looking to be more honest and open with your staff, don’t be afraid to achieve transparent leadership by using these handy tips.

Inspired by these tips and are ready to adopt them to create an open, honest workplace? Don’t be afraid and get started now! Also, if you are looking for more awesome talents out there to join your team, head over to Glints to start your search!