By Ben Walker, CEO of Transcription Outsourcing, LLC.
Building trust through transparency is the key to a successful organization. You can see the difference right away when you come together as a team. Work flows easier, communication channels open up and mistakes become fewer and fewer. To get to that level of trust that all organizations strive for, you must increase transparency. In doing so, you gain leadership skills that make for a well-run organization.
Here's how: About three years ago, I started sharing the company financials with my employees so that they could better understand what was happening with the entire company and not one division. They all said they appreciated being brought up to speed and were glad to be included in these discussions.
As a person in power, your employees may feel like they are in the dark, making it tougher to trust you and your business decisions. To make them see otherwise, get to know them on a personal level. Don't let the title of CEO define you. Host a catered lunch and talk with your staff about topics unrelated to work. Sports, weekend activities or discussing where you grew up are all good topics for creating a circle of trust with each employee. Relating to employees on a casual level shows them that you are one of them, even though you are the boss.
Your employees will have more trust in you if you are open and honest with them. In The Harvard Business Review, Carolyn O'Hara writes, "Part of being transparent also involves having the integrity to tell the truth, even if it means you have to be the bearer of bad news." Of course, there is information that you have to withhold from them for various reasons. But items like board meeting notes or how the business is performing is good to share with your staff. They'll appreciate your honesty and continue to work hard for you.
Own Up to Your Mistakes
Nobody's perfect and that includes you. In the book, Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win Joko Willink, a former Navy Seal, discusses how important it is as a leader to take responsibility for your actions: "Implementing extreme ownership requires checking your ego and operating with a high degree of humility. Admitting mistakes, taking ownership and developing a plan to overcome challenges are integral to any successful team." Not only should you discuss a team member's mistake but admit to your own faults too. You'll establish a higher level of trust when you show your employees that you too are vulnerable to errors.
Show Your Expertise
You started your business because you are an expert in your industry. Show your staff that by attending conferences and networking events. Your employees will see right away that you are making an effort to further your knowledge of your business. Alternatively, do not show off as an expert in every aspect of your business. People can see right through that and define you as being fake. Turn the table around and ask your staff questions to have them show off their expertise. They'll appreciate you relying on them for business advice.
Give Credit Where Credit's Due
Not hearing feedback of any kind leaves your employees wondering and unaware of their business performance. Or if you do criticise their work, they can take it the wrong way and become upset. Rather than focusing on the negative, give employees feedback in a positive way. As Kristi Hedges explains in Forbes, "It's the positive feedback that reminds people what they should be doing more of, and how to bring their strengths to bear." Employees love when you remind them how they are doing on the job. That includes telling them what they can improve on.
You have a higher chance of losing your employees' trust when you keep them in the dark. Instead, be transparent and honest with them. You'll find that the when you practice transparency, you'll see an increase in business growth and success.
Ben Walker is the CEO for Transcription Outsourcing, LLC and has made contributions to Entrepreneur Magazine, The Associated Press, & Inc.