Transparency builds trust. If a leader shows themselves time and time again with honesty, authenticity and frankness, trust grows. A transparent leader might not always say what you want to hear, but they will keep you up to speed on what you need to know.In leadership, transparent communication is rarely the easiest path. It’s easier to keep everyone smiling while pushing missteps under every rug. Until it isn’t.If being open and honest is uncomfortable for you, do it anyway. It never hurts to preface a tough conversation with exactly that, “This is going to be a tough conversation, but let’s get through it together.”
Everyone believes they know their audience. Oftentimes communication methodology is created based on what one feels confident they know about the environment. In almost all instances, leaders don’t communicate enough with useful information and a demeanor that welcomes feedback and opposing points of view.Weekly email newsletters, online headlines via an internal portal, routine face-to-face opportunities to give and receive feedback, targeted text messages, team meetings – far too many companies pick one or two communication pathways, assuming more would be bothersome and that if staff don’t read their emails, that’s on them.
There is no point in communicating if few are listening. You should never pick and choose a single communication vehicle. The way is ‘every way’, ‘often’ and ‘engaging’. You might find a particular delivery method that works for months until suddenly it stops being as effective. Always keep you ear to the ground to discover what is working, how your communication is being received and perceived and, not least of all, what might work better.
Rather than mandate, or follow along, or quietly detach, influence has a much greater reach. However, developing your own art of influence is not easy. It’s important to begin where you are. Not where you think you are; where you are.