3 Secrets To Sharing Secrets

Don’t keep secrets. Keeping secrets creates short-term advantages and long-term costs. You gain the edge, but lose the relationship. The world could use less secrets and more sharing. I wish you would share more.

Annoying Secret #1: Bad News

I was happy when he brought me bad news. His eyes matched his words,”I’m really worried.” I exhaled a huge sigh of relief. I was worried too, but this guy worries with data. He had patterns, insights, and possible scenarios. He could have waited, or tried a thing or two first. He wants to look good. But he knows I want to know what he knows. The sooner I know the real deal, the faster we can solve it.

You want your boss to know you’ve got it covered. But your boss wants to help. Share your concern out of respect not need. Bring potential solutions. Share your internal debate. Keep the lead, but give others a chance to collaborate on solutions.

Annoying Secret #2: Best Practices

It was the day before the big review with the senior team. We each had a turn to share our talk tracks. The leader ahead in an important key metric mentioned 3 or 4 best practices for the first time. We’d ALL been struggling toward this same goal, and he had answers.

Keeping best practices secret destroys trust. Secret keepers lose respect. No one wants to promote the secret keeper. Share your knowledge. Offer help. Open your heart and hands to the greater good.

Annoying Secret #3: How You Really Feel

“We’ve all been talking about it; you’re acting different.” His words were a kick in my gut. I knew it was true. The pressure was mounting and I was trying to protect the team. Instead of serving as shield, my stress emerged as unexplained intensity. We talked. We explored feelings and reasons on both sides. It helped. We carved a path forward.

Keeping your feelings secret dehumanizes the relationship. Keeping how you really feel a secret to protect your team may even make you feel like a martyr. Don’t whine, but share feelings with intention. Know the reason for your sharing. Start slowly. Check in. Initiate a balanced discussion (what feels good? what feels bad?) Be open to what you hear on the other end.

TMI: Leaders Who Share Too Much

Transparency builds trust. TMI overwhelms. Can leaders share too much? I received this note from a Let’s Grow Leaders subscriber:

“The organization I work for prides itself on transparency – I too believe this is very important – however, there are some times when we try to be transparent when the information actually discourages the receiving party unnecessarily. I have been promoting transparency when there is good to be had – and not a way of removing guilt.”

So I open the conversation to the LGL community. When do leaders share too much?

4 Ways Leaders Share Too Much

  1. Sharing Angst – Share vision. Share rationale. Share decision-making processes. Don’t share angst. Sharing too much may make you feel better, but stress multiplies as it rolls down hill. Better to buffer. Teach political savvy, but pare them from turmoil and distracting B.S.
  2. Feedback Overload – Your team wants straight-talk and deserves to know where they stand. Pace yourself. No one can grow when watered with a feedback firehose. Position feedback so that it can be heard and acted on at a reasonable pace.
  3. Admitting Every Flaw – Don’t feel compelled to expose every imperfection. If guests compliment me on my home at a party, there’s no need to admit I shoved all the toys into a big pile in the basement. “Thank you” works just find. Teach your team to position their work in a positive manner, and address significant concerns head on. It’s okay to positively position your work.
  4. Group Therapy – You want to show up as a real human being. Being vulnerable helps others to share. But, don’t over do it. Over sharing distracts from the vision and the work at hand. Maintain an appropriate balance.

Shackled Truth: Words Left Unsaid

Don’t shackle your truth. When you leave words unsaid. Your team loses, your world stays unchanged, and you know it could be better.

I worked this week with a mix of fantastic leaders across a spectrum of leadership roles and industries in a keynote I gave at the International Customer Service Association. 

Early in the game, I asked each person to write down a “strong leadership strength which they frequently hide.” I was surprised and saddened by the #1 answer.

Telling the Truth

Folks yearn to tell the truth, share their knowledge, and express their opinions but are slowed by fear of:

  • Authority
  • Backlash
  • Upset employees
  • Not being accepted
  • Failure
  • Consequences
  • Bosses
  • Losing my position

“What if I’m wrong?” or “my boss disagrees” “I don’t fit in.” “there are other strong voices in the room.” The fear of these vital leaders is also your fear, my fear, our fear.

Unschackled Truth

“Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing the matter with this, except that it ain’t so.”
~ Mark Twain

We work so hard to unshackle truth. Scar tissue, dynamics, fear of losing the familiar, keep us cautious. Your team may be holding back more than you think. A few thoughts on unshackling:

  • Ask questions for which you have no idea of the answer
  • Tell the truth (up, down, and sideways)
  • Listen more than is practical
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Take deliberate actions on what you hear
  • Recognize the truth sayers

*Photo by Larry Kohlenstein

5 reasons to close your open door

5 Reasons To Close Your Open Door

You love an open door. So do I. You want to be all things to all people – all of the time. But, that’s impossible. We open our office doors as a symbolic gesture saying, “I’m always here for you.” Good in theory. But, if Sam knocks in the middle of your meeting with Sally, someone loses.

I once had a boss whose open door policy (coupled with a high need for control), led to a constant line of people outside his open door, waiting for affirmation. Big time waster. Appointments would have worked better. So would empowerment (but that’s another post).

I’m over the constantly open physical door. All my eggs are in the metaphorical open door basket. Call me any time, about anything. And if I can’t get to you now, it will be very soon. If my doors shut with people inside, don’t knock unless it’s urgent. If it’s urgent, kick it in. No questions asked.

Why I Like an Open Door with Hinges

  1. When I’m With You, I’m With YOU – A closed-door meeting provides time to focus on the who and now. Disappearing distractions build deeper connection and foster creativity. Get real, speak frankly, and get it done.
  2. Power Pauses – Many leaders drop everything when their boss calls. It’s a dangerous precedent. Your team is watching you. Your actions inadvertently say, “drop everything when I call too.” A closed door may help your boss to pause. Best to have a good signaling system for such occasions.
  3. Taking It Offline – My world is filled with tough conversations. Too much crap is aired in big meetings. I’m a big fan of smaller meetings to speak (and listen to) tough truths.
  4. Time To think – I love early mornings. The door is open and the air is full of ideas. But sometimes your best thinking can’t be scheduled. Sometimes vision must come fast. When you need a minute, close your door. Taking a minute to yourself may save your team hours.
  5. Your Turn – Why do you close the door? Or are you in the open door all the time camp? Would love to discuss both sides.
Are you looking to take your leadership to the next level? We’d love to offer a free consultation. Contact us at info@letsgrowleaders.com

3 Ways To Deliver Tough Messages: A Video

Communicating the hard stuff leaves even the best leaders stressed and queasy. You care deeply about the human beings you support. You don’t mean to play games, but a sprinkle of sugar-coating, with a dollop of “they don’t really need to know this ” diminishes trust and undermines your leadership.

When we’re not honest and direct, the message is lost, and the fill-in-the blank games begin. And yet, so many leaders chose to use spin, or speak with strategic ambiguity. Or, they only share part of the story because they believe the truth will be misused.

In this edgy video, I share 3 Ways to Deliver Tough Messages Effectively. (click on link to view)

It’s not easy, and I explore several sides of this challenge.

3 Ways to Deliver Tough Messages

  1. Create genuine connections
  2. Focus on the good guys
  3. Tell the truth

This video is controversial. Help me stir the pot. What do you agree with, what concerns you? What tips do you have for delivering tough messages effectively? Let’s continue the conversation together.

Thank you to Tom and Joy Guthrie of Vizwerx for their amazing support in creating of this video.

*How to Deliver Tough Messages. A Let’s Grow Leaders Film.

Leadership Development Made Easy

Leadership development used to be easier. Early in my career, my team was small, and I was in HR leading other HR folks. We all spoke the same language, and everyone believed in leadership development.

Then a move out of HR to a team 50 times the size in a union environment. More tricky, but all in a few large call centers. I could physically model the leadership I was looking to grow.

Next to a sales role, with a team of 2000 spread out in 100 locations within a 9 hour radius. Still close enough to show up to support as needed, and to easily pull groups together for leadership development sessions.

Today I lead a team in 22 locations across 3 time zones supporting 7 companies. We need to develop leadership capabilities on our internal team and influence 10,000 leaders and followers. I have fantastic leaders at each level contributing to this mission. Leadership development is up to all of us. I could just delegate, but this is vital. How do I also personally touch as many leaders as possible?

The easiest way to build leadership in a large, remote team is to let them inside.

Easy Leadership Development

Many leaders overlook this vital approach. Teach leadership not only by modeling on the outside, but sharing the feelings, thoughts and struggles happening on the inside. With a large, remote team, this requires even more trust and time. It’s worth it. I choose to.

  1. Leverage social media – Sure I write for you. I’m also highly sensitive to my team. If there’s a message someone (usually someones) needs to hear, it’s in the blog. I can’t tell you how many notes I get from folks saying, “that one was about me, wasn’t it?” It usually isn’t, but if the shoe fits. Sure, I could write using company tools, but then they’d miss the interaction of LGL community. Plus, by separating this as my personal blog, I preserve the right to be edgy. And I can contribute more broadly to you, them, and the rest of the world.
  2. Speak deeply into the microphone – When my team is together, I leverage time to let them in my head. Sure we talk strategy and plans, but we go much deeper. I encourage challenging questions, and they know I will shoot straight. I start. They share too. We talk about:

       •  What scares us and why
       •  Weaknesses we’re working to develop
       •  Challenges we face
       •  What makes us angry
       •  Mistakes, regrets and failures
       •  Hopes and dreams

  3. Real-time learning – We stop action to dissect teachable moments. I debrief my executive interactions and what I’m learning. I call them right back after conference calls to discuss their approach. We hold “virtual teambuilders” on topics we’re wrestling with. I’ll pose a simple question, such as “leaders stop learning when _____” And everyone responds to all via email. Amazing level-less leadership connection.

    Oddly enough, I’ve received more feedback about personal and leadership growth from this large, remote team, than in any other role in my career. We’ve also experienced the important side effect of A players and other “crazies” lining up to join the team.

    Why? We let one another into our heads.

  4. Real leadershipLearning is the 4th Branch of the REAL model. Don’t miss future discussions, enter your email to subscribe.

Becoming More Authentic: A Practical Guide

You are born authentic. Life happens. You slowly start to hide bits of yourself from yourself and others. Not deliberately. It’s a gradual mutation, hard to see– let alone feel. You work to convince your heart this new you is practical, even necessary. More life happens.
Reverse the pattern.

Benefits of Aging

From the hundreds of folks weighing in on yesterday’s post in various circles (including great comments yesterday, THANK YOU!), the most frequent theme was, “I have become more authentic with age.”

Perhaps it’s because early attempts are clutsy. We need more life to understand our values. Or, we take an aggressive stance without thinking it through. Or perhaps as LaRay Quy commented in yesterday’s post:

Sooner or later, life catches up with those who are not authentic, but I feel sort of sorry for them because most of them have no idea WHO or WHAT they really stand for the illusion has become the reality. I think it’s sometimes called “mid-life crisis?”

Don’t just wait it out and hope for your years to make you wise. You want every bit of authenticity as early in your game as possible.

Growing Toward Authentic

There’s no easy way to BECOME more authentic. I didn’t see authenticity 101 in my son’s freshman choices. But it’s helpful to consider some components.

Values

Get deliberate in articulating your values. Make a short list. Write them down. Order them. Notice the natural tension among them. When your deeply held values battle which wins? For one week, at the end of each day take out the list. Grade yourself honestly on each one. Notice the patterns.

Integrity

Integrity sits at the intersection of your heart, head, mouth and feet. Pay deliberate attention to when and where you do what you say. Where do your best intentions break down? When are you tempted to cover up your choices?

Courage

Most of us show up more authentic in some places than others. Some people and scenes stoke our authenticity. Others bring out the faker in us. Identify one situation where you need more courage. Name the fear. Give it an audacious and ugly name. Then find one way to punch it in the face today.

Transparency

Start today with a stroke count. Count how many times your heart called you to share more, but you bit your tongue. Notice why. Look for patterns. Ask you team for help. What are they longing to learn more about, take the risk and let them in.

Real leadershipThis post is part of the REAL leadership model series. Please join the conversation by subscribing, commenting and sharing.

Frontline Festival-May 2013: Trust and Transparency Edition

Welcome to the May Frontline Festival. Thanks to all the amazing thought leaders sharing their perspectives on Trust and Transparency.

Building Trust

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership says you “can’t build trust,” in his post How do I trust thee? Trust is important, but it has more than one dimension. I like that he differentiates between being trusted as a person and being trusted as a leader, with salient examples of a newly promoted team leader.

New to the Festival, Henna Inam, of Transformational Leadership, shares her post How To Influence Others Powerfully. She explores the linkage between influence and trust. I agree with her statement, “influence expands in direct proportion to trust and connection.”

Jonathan Green, of Monster Leaders, shares The Three Rules for a Prospering Work Culture. Jonathan teaches, “Sharing is caring. It is critically important to keep people in the know and connect them through honesty, sharing experiences and promoting open dialogue.”

Trusting Your Team

“He who does not trust enough, Will not be trusted.”
~Lao Tzu

Lolly Daskal of Lead From Within offers great advice for building trust in her post, Just Trust Me. My favorite point, “Trust is a two-way street. To make someone trustworthy, you need to trust them first. The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”More leaders need this message.

John Hunter of Curious Cat shares, Trust Your Staff to Make Decisions. “Often the basic problem is managers don’t trust their systems to hire and develop people. The solution to this problem is not to give your staff no authority. The solution is to manage your systems so that you can trust your people.”

Mark Miller of Great Leaders serve shares his post Great Teams Take a Leap of Faith we must trust that building community will reap rewards.

Trusting Yourself

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
~Steve Jobs

Dan McCarthy, of Great Leadership shares, Authentic Leadership Development: Your Past, Present and Future He shares, “Becoming an authentic leader involves transformation. It’s not “doing” leadership, it’s figuring out who you are and who you want to be as a leader.”

I love this post from Eric Dingler of ericdingler.com, because he starts by considering how you trust yourself. Are You the Leader The Team You Are Looking to Lead Is Looking to Follow? He asks provocative questions: “Would you follow you? Are you trustworthy? Do you really want what’s best for your team? Are you in it for them? Do you let your team get to know you? Would you want your kids to grow up and work for you?”

Matt McWilliams of Life. Leadership. Love. Learned the Hard Way. Shares his journey toward becoming a better leader in, Feedback for Leaders (Or, You Suck, Sincerely, Your Team). I admire his candid insights.

Leigh Steere shares her Lead Change post, Your Executive Title Does Not Make You a Leader. She interviews an exec who chose to leave her leadership post, in order to remain a leader. “Laura concluded, “I was actively uninspired. I could not stay, because I am a leader.” Powerfully provocative.

Elements of Trust

I love the angle taken by Joan Kofodimos of Teleos Consulting in her post, The Dark Side of Trust. She provides specific actions we can take to “take responsibility for identifying your own interests and negotiate to get them met.” Sometimes what feels like a breach of trust, may be a gap in expectations.

Tal Shnall of Habits of the Heart, breaks down several components of trust in his post, The Meaning of Trust. My favorite, “if you are willing to place other people’s concerns and aspirations on the top of your agenda, you will be able to expand the trust with them for the long run.”

Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context asks What Variables Impact How Freely We Extend Trust. She has a nice list, what would you add?

Greg Marcus of Idolbuster shares a chapter from his excellent book, Busting Your Corporate Idol, Who to Trust at Work.

When Trust Breaks Down

“Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.”
~J.K. Rowling

New to the Festival, Skip Prichard of Skip Prichard Leadership Insights, interviews Scott Weiss on the “crises of trust” in his post, The Challenge of Trusting Leadership. He invites Weiss to “speak to the new graduate who is just starting out. What can he or she do to avoid the shocking experience you had when you first were exposed to these concepts?”

Blair Glaser  exposes the risks of following in Are You Strong Enough to Be My Fan. My favorite line, “There is a way to follow that won’t set you or the leader up for a fall. You’ve got to be strong. You’ve got to recognize the human fallibility in all of us.”

Bob Winchester shares  Five Reasons Your Boss Doesn’t Trust You– How To Break Through Corporate Culture Revolution. He also offers tips for recovering when you screw up.

David Dye, of Trailblaze shares, Can We Really Trust Your Leadership? He’s got an interesting story that will make you feel better about your driving, as well as tips for building trust in the midst of a mistake.

Transparency

“What passes for woman’s intuition is often nothing more than man’s transparency.”
~George Jean Nathan

Dan Rockwell of Leadership Freak, exposes the dangers of hiding your views in Death to Bobble Head Leaders. “Leaders become bobble heads to protect position and get promoted. It’s dishonest and disingenuous. Look around. How many bobbing heads sit at the table?” The best question, “Is anyone disruptive?”

Jennifer V. Miller of The People Equation says that leadership bloggers are fond of touting “transparency” as a path to authentic leadership. But are there times when disclosure is not the best policy? Find out in her post Is Leadership Transparency Always the Best Policy?

Also new to the Festival, Randy Conley,shares Four Strategies to Increase Organizational Trust & Transparency. In today’s fast-paced, globally connected business world in which we live, an organization’s successes and failures can be tweeted across the internet in a matter of seconds. A knee jerk reaction of many organizational leaders is to clamp down on the amount of information shared internally, with hopes of minimizing risk to the organization. Many times this backfires and ends up creating a culture of risk aversion and low trust.

Jon Mertz, of Thin Difference shares Trust: At the Speed of Social Media. As Generation Y or Millennials grow in workplace presence, this new definition of transparency (Transparency = Accountability) is a reality. Jon shares some of my same concerns over the over-use of the word “transparency.” He writes, ” personally, I never like the word transparent. It seems so flimsy; something high-priced people say. It has become bureaucratic-speak or position talking points. With social media, transparency turns into immediate accountability, which is what it should be.”with social media, transparency turns into immediate accountability, which is what it should be.”

Becky Robinson, of Weaving Influence asks, what is the right level of transparency, in her post, Transparency. The post elicited an excellent comment, worth reading, it begins. “I think that there is a danger here of mistaking transparency with openness (and lack of discretion for that matter)”

Thanks to all the contributors. June’s Frontline Festival is all about Conflict and Conflict Resolution. Submissions due June 7th.

If you are new to Let’s Grow Leaders, I encourage you to enter your email address to receive free updates

Should You Reveal Your Secret at Work?

You want to show up authentic, but then again not every environment is safe. If you tell your secret, will they admire your courage? Will it bring you closer to your boss and others? Or. Will they judge you? Will doors open or close as a result of your authenticity? Bill Treasurer, author of Leaders Open Doors, shares a powerful story of how revealing a deep secret opened the doors to remarkable opportunity. I admire his courage. At the same time, I can’t help but consider how his story would play out in other contexts with other important leaders I know. I suspect the outcome would be different.

Risky Reveals

A risky reveal can be admitting something from your past, in Bill’s case, he was recovering from a drinking problem. Or perhaps it’s a hidden lifestyle choice. If you’re wrestling with a potentially risky reveal, you know. When Bill shared his secret with his boss at Accenture, it didn’t appear to go well.

Although I didn’t expect my boss to pat me on my shoulder and say, “Good for you; you’re a drunk!” I expected more of a reaction than I got. After I told him that I was in recovery, my boss looked at me quizzically and muttered, “I see.”

As the story plays out, his boss was chairman of the board of directors of a non-profit council on substance abuse. A few weeks after the initial conversation, he gave Bill an opportunity to lead a huge project with that agency, with his full support. That project led to more and grew his career.

To Reveal or Not Reveal?

I asked Bill, “How do you decide?”

  1. Check your motives: Consider why you want this person to know. If you’re looking for sympathy or shock factor, don’t do it. Perhaps you feel it will bring you closer and enhance the relationship, that may be valid reason.
  2. Time it right: Resist the spontaneous spill. Even if the exact moment you chose to disclose feels spontaneous, it’s best to have carefully weighed the pros and cons before hand.
  3. Consider their track record: How have they handled sensitive information in the past? What’s their track record. If you don’t know, be careful.
  4. Allow time to process: Don’t expect an immediate reaction. Your news may be shocking at first, your boss may need time to think before offering a useful response.
  5. Consider outcomes: Think about the potential opportunities and drawbacks of the risky reveal.

If you’re interested in the topic of Trust and Transparency, stop back on Friday for the Frontline Festival when thought leaders around the world sharing their best posts on the topic. In fact, why not just enter your email address below, and never miss a post. Join the LGL community and conversation.

Have you been on either end of a risky reveal?

how to give your boss bad news

How to Give Your Boss Bad News (the D.A.R.N. way)

Darn-it. You screwed up. Or, perhaps you trusted your team and now you have empowerment run amok. You don’t want to blame, but you’re mad too. Your boss will be ticked. And worse, she might have to tell her boss. It’s time to come clean. How do you tell your boss the bad news?

The biggest mistake you can make with bad news is to wait too long. Your boss would rather know what’s going on, even if you don’t need his help.

Bad News the D.A.R.N. Way

The good news: handle this well and you’ll increase your leadership credibility. The bad news: you’ve still got bad news.

My phone rang the other day, with bad news. I was so impressed with the leadership recovery, I couldn’t be mad. His approach reduced my $%&@&+@ response to “darn”. In fact, I quickly jotted down his steps for you.

D- Disclosure (explain the situation and root cause)
“I’ve had a bad day. We have a bit of a situation I need to fill you in.” _______ happened and now we have _______. When I dug in deeper I learned it was caused by __________ (behavior or situation not person).”

A- Accountability (don’t be a blamer).
“I accept full responsibility. I should have been closer to this. Here’s how I can prevent that next time_______”

R- Response (share your solution)
“Here’s what I’ve already done _______ (it’s important to have something to say here).

N- Next Steps (share your plan and what you need)
Here’s what I’m going to do next______ I could use your help with _______ (if needed)”

Your turn. What’s your best advice for sharing tough news with your boss?

“But Your Life Looks So Perfect on Facebook”

I just got off the phone with an old friend. She had several important concerns weighing on her heart. We talked about them for a while, and then she shared:

“You know I was talking to another friend about this and she said, “but your life looks so perfect on Facebook.”

I took a quick look at her Facebook page. Of course it did. It’s Facebook. Who wants to put their troubles out there for the world to see? All those great pics are absolutely true. Much in her life is fantastic. And, like every single one of us, other parts are messy.

So What’s This Got To Do With Leadership?

As leaders we work hard to present a “together” image. How this shows up varies on the organization, context and culture.

Maybe it’s…

  • the right shoes
  • perfectly organized meetings
  • perfectly put together wardrobes
  • perfectly polished speeches
  • stories of how your bold career moves worked out just right
  • an office full of awards
  • happy pictures of your happy family
  • ?

I’ll pause here to let you fill in the blank for your world. What is your organization’s equivalent to “looking good on Facebook.”

The truth is, you are also messy. I am also messy. Every member of your team is messy. Life is messy.

We want to believe our leaders have it all together.

We are inspired to think that “perfect” is achievable.

“Perfect” can also be intimidating.

Beyond the “Facebook” Fantasy

What if you…

  • Shared a bit more of your real journey?
  • Anticipated the angst your team members must have in their lives?
  • Made it okay to show up real.
  • Make it safe for your team to talk about the angst?
  • Don’t hold “it” against them.
  • ?

The Debate Continues: 4 Reasons for More Transparency

I recently exposed my internal struggle with transparency in a post at Lead Change Group. Sometimes the best debates start in our own hearts. It turns out, that I am not alone in this personal wrestling match, as so many have shared in their tweets, scoops and comments.

“As leaders grow in responsibility, scope and scale, the issue of “transparency” becomes more significant. Executives have insights into confidential strategy, complex nuances, and serious situations. They also have large teams and a customer base watching every move. It’s common practice for leaders to pull back more as they rise in the business, revealing less about themselves as humans. Some chose to show up strong, serious and a bit mysterious. They create professional distance to drive results. On the other hand, there are also examples of leaders who chose to be more open, sharing more about themselves and why they do what they do. And so, I invite an expanded conversation. What is the right level of transparency? What are the pros and cons of being more closed or open? Read more in The Transparency Debate: How Much Should Leaders Share?”

4 Reasons For More Transparency

Every comment was in favor of more transparency. As one reader shared, “the days of playing hide and seek are over.” And so I offer you the collective wisdom from this debate and additional reasons for transparency.

Stronger Alignment

When we are clear about our values, thought processes, and rationale, our teams get a behind the scenes view of our choices. It is far easier for team members to align with a vision they fully understand. As one reader shared, “How can we define our shared purpose (a meaningful hopeful future we all really care about) if we don’t share some of the stuff that is close to our hearts?”

Deeper Trust

Trust begets trust. When we trust enough to share a bit about ourselves and our thinking, the relationship deepens. When we show we trust in the team, they are more likely to reciprocate. When there is less information available, people do what they can to fill in the blanks. Usually the imagined future and actions are far more distasteful than the reality.

Faster Change

In times of change and crises, my experience is that people want as much information as possible. Transparency reduces anxiety, speculation, and chatter. When people are focused on the work, the change moves more quickly and smoothly.

Broader Development

It just makes sense that people will learn more when the are on the inside. They learn more from understanding the nuances behind a decision and from the underlying struggles. Leaders learn from watching leaders. I would argue that transparent leaders also benefit in their own development. By taking more risks and being more vulnerable, you will get more honest feedback and support that you can use in your own leadership journey.

Should You Be More Transparent?

Where do you fall on the transparency continuum?

What information do you feel comfortable sharing?

What do you choose to hold back and why?

What scares you?