What, exactly, should I share?

So you are on board with the idea of being more transparent! Fantastic! So… what exactly should you be sharing?

Here are some ideas to start.

  • Challenges. No harm in being a little vulnerable and asking others for their insight on a problem your team is having.
  • Wins. Hit your numbers? Landed a client? Cleaved completion time by a third? Implemented a new protocol? Not only will others congratulate you, but give them an opportunity to ask questions about it. Describe how you got there.
  • What you’re shooting for. Everyone has their day to day, but what is the team, the department, the company shooting for over time, and what potential impact does the individual employee have in it?
  • Progress. How are we doing, exactly? Are we on pace, lagging behind, ahead of the game? What does it mean if we are any of those things?

Now, on to the pro-level transparency. Here are the two categories of information that line staff always wonder and whisper about, and which can create some distrust if not shared to some degree.

  • When a closed door meeting was not that kind of closed door meeting. Sometimes, the “closed door” in closed door meetings is simply to not disrupt others’ work rather than any ultra secretive for-our-ears-only information session. So, dispel the mysterious aura and simply let others know what happened.
  • Insight. This is a big one, and probably the greatest opportunity to reap trust as a result of being transparent. Explain the process for how a decision was made, the rationale, the various considerations, the trade-offs, after an announcement about a change was made. This is more than just “this is why we’re doing this.” This additional insight goes over well with employees and can shorten the time to buy-in.
  • A taste. This is my personal favorite. Perhaps the closed door meeting was ultra secretive, but is there one non-controversial thing you can share with the team? If so, consider doing it. Sometimes I told people what we were discussing or deciding on, even if I couldn’t tell them what was decided because that was up to so-and-so to do. At least people knew what the meeting was about, even if they didn’t know the outcome.

Once you get into the habit of walking this line in transparency with your colleagues, within your teams, and/or with your direct reports, there is a snowball effect. You get a little better at it. Trust builds and begets more trust. You start to develop some instinct about how sharing information can reap benefits, and you can go with your gut more and more.

Take one of these examples above, and try it this week. You don’t have to be in management. These principles of transparency, this mindset and approach, applies at all levels with whomever you’re working with.

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