Jason Shah is the founder and CEO of Do, a collaboration platform that helps you run productive meetings.

Most if not all leaders say they value honesty and integrity, but when it comes time to own up to bad decisions or mistakes, our commitment to the truth can waver.

This is how character is formed. When we make the right decision even when it hurts, we strengthen our ability to own up to our errors. It's one thing to hold transparency as a core value in your company, but it's quite another to instill the same values in your team members.

If you want your people to trust you and to be vulnerable, you have to lead by example and continually remind them that openness is the best policy. Here are five reasons you should inform your team about transparency and values.

To Build Trust With Your People

As a leader, you want your people to trust you. When they do, they'll be more engaged in their work and less likely to doubt and second-guess you. Transparency has to be top-down because your employees won't adopt your values as their own unless they see it being practiced by the leaders in their organization.

When you admit to your follies, your team members will be more willing to do the same. When you share openly about what hasn't gone right, they'll then feel more free to bring their concerns to you.

When you're transparent, it reminds your workers that they aren't an island -- they'll become more aware of the fact that they work in a collaborative environment where they can share in their challenges. Here at Do, we are firm believers in transparency. We do not work in isolation -- everything we do, we do together. And the same goes for meetings: they are meant to be collaborative, transparent experiences.

To Boost Productivity

How does transparency boost productivity within your organization?

Consider the all-too-familiar dance of "who delegated what," "who forgot this," "what got lost," and similar statements that are often used as excuses disguised as legitimate concerns.

In a transparent culture, a team member is more likely to admit to their forgetfulness, their error, or their inability to complete the project. And there's nothing wrong with that -- we believe that just leads to a learning experience that teaches them how to fix it next time. These realizations can lead to a far more productive workplace.

To Solve Problems Faster

When people just work according to hearsay or speculation -- without knowing the facts -- their decisions are more likely to be off-course and not pertinent to the real issue. But if you lay all of your cards out on the table and communicate clearly, everyone knows exactly what the challenge is. This can often mean solving problems in less time as it frees the flow of ideas.

This also helps with building trust: sharing information and being fully transparent means that everyone, no matter what their role is, is in the loop on everything at all times.

To Find The Right People

Having trouble finding suitable candidates for certain roles? When your company is transparent, you're more likely to attract the right kind of talent to your organization.

Most HR departments say that hiring and retaining the right people is one of their biggest challenges. But in a company where open communication is taking place, prospective workers may even begin to seek you out.

To Increase Your Bottom Line

When your people trust you, what happens?

First of all, they'll become more enthusiastic about their work. At our company, we find that being fully open and transparent leads to team members becoming even more motivated and engaged in their work -- because they know they are making a meaningful, impactful difference that is being noticed and appreciated. And that acknowledgment is critical in fostering enthusiasm in the workplace.

As a result, your customers will feel like they are being taken care of, and will become return customers. Before you know it, they'll be full-on evangelists for your business. We've noticed this with our users: when we bring passion and enthusiasm to our work, there's a trickle-down effect with our users.

What begins at the top eventually trickles down, and as your employees adopt your values, they'll quickly spread to your customers too. If you want to create a great reputation and a more productive environment, start by being transparent with your team.

Published on: Feb 26, 2016
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