There is an "old school" model that says you are the only one who should know about difficult financial issues, that you are paid the "big bucks" for the "sleepless nights" and you should be the only one who has to worry about strategy and direction. This create a leadership model that is too isolated, too insular, and too ineffective.
Yet, there is a "new school" model of transparency that could be easily misinterpreted in a way that was never intended. You can share so much about future plans, financial difficulties, and concerns about the economy that you destroy morale.
Think of the entrepreneur who arrives at work and immediately starts complaining about the competition. The mobile app across town just scored a big funding round.
The social media startup just hired a brilliant data scientist. The good model of transparent leadership says it is OK to let your staff know about these difficulties.
The bad model of transparency is where you talk constantly about challenges and thereby create an atmosphere of incompetence, confusion, and distrust. Being honest and open is not that same as having a bleeding heart. It's not the same as destroying confidence with your staff and making them stressed out. Choosing when to be open and transparent is an act of wisdom, not deceitfulness. At times, being a good leader means having a positive attitude in the face of serious setbacks.
Should you dwell on the setbacks? Is the new model of transparent leadership all about being negative? The goal with transparency is to let your employees know the real you. Let them know see your stress, sure. That's the big change from an old school management style. But let them also see your confidence. Let them know you do have plan to destroy the competition.
Let them know you won't let the economy hamper growth. Be transparent, but don't let the need for transparency create a sense of doom and gloom. My main point about what you tell your staff was never intended as a way to hide from the truth. If you sit down at a meeting and the first thing you say is that you are unsure about how to handle the competition or get out of debt, you are not always building trust. This kind of transparency is overrated.
Baum maintains that by fostering trust, integrity and accountability at all levels within the corporation, managers can stop the erosion of employee loyalty, restore consumer trust in brands, products, and American business. Baum teaches executives fresh ways of managing Wall Street analysts, communicating with shareholders, and wading through the complex maze of social responsibility issues.
As a member of six corporate boards, Baum offers unique insight into transparent leadership, including the advantages and pitfalls of corporate governance, and the pressures executives face in reporting earnings. He also discusses the importance of setting standards for ethical business practices, yet highlights the dangers of government regulations that may result in excessive compliance costs at the expense of shareholders, creative risk taking, and innovation. Thanks for signing up!
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About Product Details Drawing on his experience as a leader in some of the nation's largest corporations, Baum issues a convincing call for honest, ethical, "transparent" dealing throughout the business world. HarperCollins e-books On Sale: Questions Are the Answer by Hal Gregersen. Rebel Talent by Francesca Gino. Dying for a Paycheck by Jeffrey Pfeffer.
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