One of the biggest mistakes managers make that leads to turnover, when done repeatedly and intentionally, is hoarding and withholding information.

The real reason they do it? It's about power and control. And control is one of the most effective ways to kill trust. Managers hoarding information to control their environment and the people in it simply cannot be trusted.

The reverse of this unfortunate management practice is a leader who acts responsibly by sharing information with the team. This takes the courageous leadership behavior known as transparency. 

If you've read Patrick Lencioni's masterpiece "Five Dysfunctions of a Team" you already know that the foundation for any good relationship in his pyramid model is trust. And that foundation of trust cannot happen without transparency, period. 

How Transparency Works to Your Advantage

As a result of transparency, your people will work harder for you, respect you more, and you'll be able to solve problems much faster.

If you're wondering what you can do to build trust over time, let me offer six key habits of transparency exemplified by the best leaders.

1. Be accessible. 

Good leaders are out in the open sharing plans for the future and communicating important things to their people. They don't hide behind closed doors or delegate these important things to someone else. Employees will look to leaders for information on what's going on, and credibility soars when their leaders are in the front lines or "walking their four corners" to share information with the troops. 

2. Acknowledge that people are human and have concerns.

One of the most challenging times to lead others comes during a tough phase of transition or change. Uncertainty creates an atmosphere of fear, and good leaders know how to remedy this by quickly reassuring their employees, giving them the facts, providing encouragement and keeping the positive vibes flowing. They ask for their employees' input -- how do they feel about this change? Then they exercise active listening skills, and make time to hear concerns and anxieties that people might have. This create opportunities for dialogue.   

3. Follow-through.

If you don't know the answer to a question immediately and you say you'll get back to your employee by a certain time, make sure you do so. Keeping your word on even the small things demonstrates that they can depend and rely on you. This is certainly helpful when the big things come down the pipe; they can trust that you're going to be there, that you'll do what you say you will. This act of transparency is really important for building credibility as a leader, especially with new employees.  

4. Give them the bigger picture.

One way to engage your team members is to give them perspective about what they're doing. Communicate how their work (even the most mundane tasks) ties into the bigger picture, the end goals, the company mission and strategy. No matter what they're doing, let your team members know the larger context -- not just what they're doing, but why they're doing it. Transparency in this context is really about your employees saying, "I trust the future." It's about future confidence.

5. Keep the lines of communication open.

This habit is crucial in connection to the others. Many of the firms in Fortune magazine's annual 100 Best Companies to Work For list do this in its business practices two ways:

1) Sharing their vision for the future with employees.

2) Taking the pulse of the organization by constantly listening and responding to what they hear so they can serve the needs of their people. 

Published on: Oct 24, 2017