- Be so transparent that it may scare your boss.
- Talk to people, stop hiding away from them.
- Transparency is currency and it buys you trust.
- And if people don’t trust you, well, you may as well shut up shop right now.
Honesty, is a characteristic that we all believe we hold. However, the facts below prove that honesty is nowhere near as pervasive as it should be:
- Our jails are overflowing
- The legal profession continues to thrive
- Court cases are becoming as popular as soapies
- Headlines and articles associated with corruption dominate our newspapers.
It is impossible to count the cost of developing and administering the legislation associated with curbing dishonest practices, as advocated by:
- The King reports
- Anti-money laundering
- Other Regulatory reporting Procedures.
Where honesty should be a case of black and white it’s become grey. Society has become adept at rationalizing its behaviour.
So what to do? Let’s explore the bullets above.
Be so transparent that it may scare your boss.
From an idealistic point of view one should work for a boss that will value your transparency.
Treat your interview as your potential future boss’s interview too. Try to establish their values through your interview dialogue.
When being transparent with your superiors, bear in mind that bosses typically don’t want their boat rocked. Pick your time and the words you use. Make sure that your reasons for being transparent is for the benefit of all. If it is for your benefit alone, think twice, as self-serving opinions are seldom effective. It’s also not usually a good idea to have your say on the spur of the moment and in a public forum – I know as I have fallen foul of this several times. This approach not only puts your boss on the spot but may result in nothing more than a shortened career. Timing is also key – best done on the back of a success or when the mood seems right.
The squeaky wheel also loses its value and appeal over time. You don’t have to point out every minor shortcoming, every day.
Talk to people, stop hiding away.
I just love the approach of managing by walking about as:
- it levels the playing field
- removes physical barriers
- opens you up to spontaneity and is less disruptive than “come into my office”.
If you happen to have an office, keep the door open but preferably sit with the team. Always remember that people enjoy talking about themselves. Also, sincere interest develops a relationship to one of caring. Nobody wants to be open with someone who just doesn’t care.
As a boss you will learn as much from the people who report to you as you will from your boss. Encourage your reportees to help you help them. Set up 15 minute personal chat sessions – less about the job and more about the person. At Symbiotics, this approach is extendible to other stakeholders in our ecosystem.
Transparency is currency and it buys you trust.
Trust! If you reflect on a situation when you realised that you either trusted or did not trust someone, what was it that did it?
- Looking you in the eye when talking to you
- A feeling that there is part of the story being held back
- Listening to you with part attention, under duress
- Providing an opinion of you from someone
- Other – share it with us.
We all have our own experiences which have led to a trust or no trust opinion being formulated. A truth we all know is that once trust is broken it will never be totally restored.
So, why is transparency not the norm?
- Because it’s not easy
- Because one runs the risk of it being misused
- Because it may make you seem weak
- Because knowledge is a power base for some
- Because a common “mushroom” management style still persists; tell people what they need to know not what they want to know.
In our offices, when faced with the question of “who needs to know what?” we adopt an objective approach. We ask ourselves: “Given this situation, what would we want to know?” After all, trust and transparency is a two way street. You get what you give. So, for us, the acid test is “are we treating others as we wish to be treated”.
“Never make a promise you can’t keep” seems an appropriate policy to close with.
If you are interested in reading more on this survival life raft we can recommend “The truth about trust in business” written by Vanessa Hall.
This blog concludes our journey of 10 lessons. Our sincere gratitude goes to Future World who published the original 10 point survival guide, on which our series was developed. They have provided us with much food for thought, as they often do, and hopefully this has lit your candle too.
10 Lessons on becoming a business that will survive the Internet Age:
Published courtesy of Future World and because these lessons resonate with us.