Is there anything more transparent then when someone's not being transparent?
Well, the troops are tuned in, believe me. And you can't forgive yourself a mishap because they won't forget. So, given the choice to relate or repel, let's go with the former.
But slip-ups are all too easy, so here's help--a seven-part Code of Authentic Conduct to help keep you on track.
1. Be a beacon of transparency, approachability, and integrity
Set the example, especially in times of adversity. Adversity reveals our true character--use it as an opportunity to show yours. Your actions in such times will resonate, one way or another.
And note I said your actions--the only person good at being someone else is an actor.
2. Behave without regard to position power, leveraging personal power instead
So you're a Big Cheese. Big Deal. People want to connect with a warm, caring, genuine human being, not an org chart.
You'll achieve your intended outcome in a much more meaningful way by focusing on relationships, not reporting lines.
3. Be beholden to employees who speak the truth, expose issues, and admit mistakes
And do so yourself--be vulnerable. Who's more inspiring--leaders who tell an audience they have all the answers, or the ones who share their uncertainties and flaws? No contest.
4. Be the first to live the values of the organization, especially if you set them
This call for congruence applies to your own personal values as well. Values are those little things we do each day that exemplify who we are. They're the daily little impressions that leave a huge permanent impression.
And the truth is you have a choice to live in support of, or in spite of your values. It ain't always easy, but "easy" ain't in the Leaders Manual.
5. Be utterly intolerant of politics and two-face behavior
Jekyll and Hyde belong in the theater, not the theater of the business world. For these kinds of people, I find myself wishing moderately violent harm upon them, like a fiery bicycle crash.
People like this might fool the system, for a while. However, like with a streetcar, they may advance from stop to stop for a span, but eventually their ride will come to an end. Never get on this train.
6. Be the first to give away credit and accept the blame
I've had bosses that can't side-step credit fast enough. It makes me want to give them even more credit. There may be nothing more gracious, classy, and endearing then this simple behavior.
On the other side, stepping up to take blame endears because it screams two things: "Hold me accountable" and "I hold you, dear employee, in high regard." Be that guy/girl.
7. Be a provider of a safe haven for taking risks and venting frustrations
Nothing frustrates me more than a place that preaches the importance of risk taking, but then punishes the risk-taker when all is said and done. Establish the rules of risk taking and genuinely reward it.
And make it OK for your employees to vent their frustrations without fear of repercussion. A little dissing will help them function--just don't let it become dysfunction.