When there’s a lack of honesty or transparency in upper management, it can be very easy for a divide to occur in the workplace. Managers will feel pressured to maintain a level of secrecy, while employees feel mistrusted or misled. If this describes your company, you are going to have a problem facilitating healthy, cooperative relationships between staff and management.
Here are a few ways you can address a lack of transparency.
1. Trust your team.
When you get down to it, the foundation of transparency is trust. If you aren’t being honest with your staff, it may be because you lack confidence in their abilities. This can be a two-sided problem. If, for instance, you haven’t been transparent about performance problems on your team, your staff will continue to under-perform, which in turn lowers your confidence in them.
This vicious cycle can only be corrected if you begin by providing them with real, honest constructive feedback. By assuming that they will respond to a performance review with genuine introspection, you place your trust in their abilities and increase their confidence in you as a result.
2. Don’t put a spin on the truth.
Managers can often be spin doctors when it comes to the harsh realities of the workplace. Whether you’re giving a performance review or updating your staff on recent developments in the company, be completely honest with them. This will help your employees develop a clear picture of where their company is, and how they fit in as employees. If you “sugar coat” the truth, this can distort their perception and result in lack of alignment, misjudgment or lowered performance.
3. Hold yourself accountable.
There should also be a large degree of transparency when it comes to your own personal shortcomings. A manager who can admit to their own mistakes and weaknesses is often better liked and more trusted by their staff. This will also encourage your employees to do the same.
Of course, there will be occasions when you must obscure facts from your staff. Whether this is information bound by confidentiality clauses or upcoming plans that are still in development, you should try to avoid the sense of secrecy and mistrust. Simply explain the circumstances to your employees, and ask for their input, when possible, to help involve them.
The goal of being authentic with your staff is to bridge the gap and connect to your employees on a human-to-human level. If there’s a chasm between management and the workforce, it’s impossible to achieve true collaboration or trust. The only way to overcome this divide is by being real and transparent.
Contact us to learn more about our “Real Deal” workshop to help your company create real, authentic relationships between managers and staff.