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Don’t Fleece Your Staff

If you are a boss or a leader, guess what? According to the American Psychological Association, about a third of your staff do not think you are always honest and truthful with them. About one in four does not trust you.  We have been told that the solution is transparency. Transparency builds trust.  It increases employee engagement and boosts morale.  But what does transparency really mean, and can we achieve it in an O&P business? 

According to Slack, “82% of knowledge workers say it is important that their organization is transparent. But only 19% consider their company to be ‘very transparent’.” I think a key reason that staff does not trust leadership is that leadership often gives lip service to transparency.  Everyone knows it is important, and many say they are transparent, but studies continue to show that there is a real lack of trust in the ranks.  Presumably, you do not hire dummies. So, are they on to something? 

Fast Company says that a “transparent workplace moves beyond the hierarchical companies of the past that thrived on departmental silos and need-to-know, reactive information sharing. Leading with transparency, managers eliminate murky processes and vague expectations that lead to disconnected, ineffective employees.” And as awesome as this sounds, few companies are able to open themselves up to true transparency.  Transparency is bi-directional and requires mutual accountability. Most leaders are not willing to go that far.  So, they talk about transparency, but they really are pushing “visibility.” Committing to transparency over visibility requires a high degree of leadership vulnerability.  

But all is not lost! At OPIE Choice, we have come to know John Spence pretty well, and he has come to know O&P pretty well. He teaches business excellence and one of his topics is “high-performing teams.” Do not get me wrong…trust is key. And transparency is desirable. But transparency without an alignment is not sufficient. So, I go back to my oft-mentioned need for authentic Vision, Mission, and Value Statements for the company. It is crucial that those depict the true desire for what the company will do. Create objective statements and tie job descriptions to achieving them. That creates your transparency. Your Value Statement lays down the guardrails. Hire the right people; people who not only understand your Vision, Mission, and Value statements — but who are motivated by them and who embody the values you profess. With those people on board, there should be no doubt in your mind that they are solidly on your team and therefore you will know that success is only possible when they have all the information possible to accomplish their objectives. 

As a leader, your biggest challenge will be to get out of their way once they have the tools they need! 

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