I believe in transparency as a philosophical basis from which to run a company. The resulting trust, loyalty, buy-in and contributions of your employees more than make up for the downsides. But there are indeed some downsides.
I regularly read Mark Henson’s newsletter. Some of his articles resonate more than others, but I’ve come to appreciate the clarity and truth shared in all of his writing, regardless of topic. Mark’s recent post lays out a perhaps counter-intuitive, yet spot-on perspective on the challenges of leadership and growth. He argues for transparency:
Leadership IS clueless
You see, we mistakenly think leadership means having all the answers. In fact, leadership actually means having NONE of the answers. It doesn’t mean they can’t figure out the answers, but leadership, by definition, involves actually leading people somewhere they’ve never been before.
People don’t need to be led somewhere they’ve already been. They need leaders to take them somewhere new — to battle a new enemy, to accomplish a new goal, to explore new territory. And there is typically no map for new territory. And if there is a map, it’s out of date the moment it is printed.
Being clueless is not a bad thing. Trying new approaches is not a bad thing. Exploring new territory is not a bad thing. Unless you don’t have the support of the people who work for you. Then it’s a horrible, horrible thing for everybody.
Read the whole post: Yes, Your Company’s Leadership Is Clueless.
So, just as we all want awareness, support and encouragement from our leaders, they need the same from us in equal share. Successful leaders are confident enough to chart the unknowns of new territory and humble enough to admit they may be clueless at times.
A company culture that fosters openness and transparency will grow leaders and teams with all the confidence they need to succeed together.