The Real Transparent Leader

Updated: Nov 26, 2020

Transparency is not necessarily a new term, but it's bandied about quite a bit when people discuss servant or coaching styles of leadership. There are a lot of posts written on LinkedIn about transparent leaders and how much those who serve under them really love their manager for it...

However, I feel there still is a massive gap when it comes to talking about transparency. We have transparent leaders that aren't afraid, to tell the truth, as much as they can, about any and everything EXCEPT when it comes to talking about themselves.

Why is that?

I understand that it's human nature in this highly competitive world we live in, to have massive fears about being open about your gaps, or what some people call weaknesses. But, I'd like to ask you to sit for a moment and consider what that means to not only yourself but to the team, you manage.

Are you beating yourself up, tearing yourself down because you don't know how to do "X" when your team not only knows "X", they know why it's "X" and how to implement, fix and upgrade "X".

Does it matter?

How is your unwillingness to admit your gaps being received by your team because they know your gaps.

If you are truly a good manager, then you have the skills and expertise that your team doesn't have. Let me give you an example. As a leader, I do not understand the minutia of multi-tenant architecture (my eyes almost rolled back into my just writing those words). I have a high-level view, but that's it because I have several people on my team whose job is to know this stuff. Those same people have no interest in selling in this architecture to senior management, finding the budget, fighting the politics, and making sure implementation from start to finish happens smoothly. That's why I'm here. Together, we make a heck of a team.

Instead of thinking of your gaps as a weakness, embrace transparency fully and admit what you don't know and have no interest in knowing. Just don't use it as a cop-out or a reason to point fingers. You will be judged by your success as a leader, not because you couldn't explain multi-tenancy in a board meeting.

Find the right people to compliment you and the rest of your team's gaps, so you support each other and win as a team on a daily basis.

That's leadership.

Embrace transparency fully.