There are countless books and perspectives on leadership, but it really boils down to a few basic tenets. One of those tenets is this: “Good leaders share information.”
“That’s pretty vague”, you might say. After all, what sort of information? How often? In what manner? Here’s a little of what I’m getting at.
Good leadership means providing those in your charge understanding. By this I don’t only mean your understanding of them, but more importantly for their own development and maximum contribution to your enterprise, helping them understand the reasons behind decisions that are made. In other words, being transparent.
Whether we’re talking about goals of the company, current health of the business, expectations for employees, professional partnerships, etc., it’s best to have all cards on the table. The employees are more vested, and more able to align their own personal (professional) aspirations with the organization when they work in this environment. Transparency gives employees a sense of involvement with and ownership of the business. The approach also allows the leadership to focus on what really matters: the success of the entity they lead, and the people that make up that organization.
Using these basic strategies as noted above are not only effective for business organizations, but with some adjustments for age and related understanding, also provide a good foundation for management within a family. After all, trust and empowerment work well as building blocks for raising children, just as they do for developing the human capital in a company. In fact, these principles are useful in government also. But that’s for another post.
Of course, there are those that prefer the more Machiavellian approach to leadership. Along these lines, people in positions of leadership like the prince in that famous novel by Machiavelli, use their power together with deceit, influence, manipulation, and selfishness to reign. At some point though, especially in this day and age, that approach will fall short and the leader will end up alone, with no one to lead.
After mulling over this idea earlier today, I did some quick research and found this great piece by Glenn Llopis that provides additional insights, making the case for transparency business as a powerful tenet for leaders. One of the central points he makes relates transparency to building and strengthening relationships. I couldn’t agree more.
In the end it’s up to each leader, at whatever level he or she operates, to choose their path. If they’re good, they’ll choose transparency. They’ll choose to be open, and share information. It’s the only sensible way to lead.