Lead with Transparency: Examples of Authentic Leadership

Truly authentic leaders can lead with transparency and empathy. They are capable of adapting their leadership style. They are skilled at choosing the right tools to fit the environment and personalities of any given situation best. A leader may want to be highly task-focused and provide clearly defined expectations towards staff members. Or, they might be highly relational and provide freedom to dream and create a newly formed team.

Some leadership situations may require you to act more as a coach than a boss or more like a friend than a taskmaster. Ultimately, transparent leadership is all of these things combined to one degree or another. Being knowledgeable and humble enough to utilize multiple styles and tools should be the goal of every leader. However, some tools and traits of leadership never go out of style and should always be present, regardless of the situation.

We’ll by no means compile a complete list here, but instead, focus on leading with transparency examples, while also touching on the importance of leading with empathy. Transparency and empathy are two essential traits of leadership that should exist independent of environment or personalities.

leading with transparency examples

Building a Culture of Transparency

The days of transparency in leadership being an optional quality are gone. Employees are already skeptical of those in authority. Lost trust can be tough, if not impossible, to regain. To show authenticity, transparent leaders must communicate honestly and quickly. In some cases, delayed information can be just as damaging as wrong information.

The method of communication is also essential. Be aware of the pitfalls that can come from using the wrong method of communication. If your team member lacks trust or has had negative past experiences, a correction sent through text can cause unintended insecurities. Understand that your choice of the communication channel can play a role in creating a feeling of transparency. Sometimes in-person is best! Be sure you are building trust by sharing your failures, struggles, and weaknesses.

When an employee is stuck during a project or recognizes they will fail to reach an expected outcome, if you are the kind of leader who can acknowledge their own imperfections, you'll be more approachable. If you find yourself continually discovering employee mistakes on your own or finding out about failures at the last minute, then it’s likely that you could better utilize transparent leadership. Perhaps you don't realize that your actions can be seen more as micromanaging, rather than being helpful or genuine. Deliver honest feedback to your team(s) with frequent communication. This is the best way to improve employee performance as a transparent leader.

Leading With Transparency Examples

Transparent leadership starts from the hiring process, and follows through to day-to-day interactions with employees, peers, and other supervisors or executives. Here are some examples of an organization that is leading with transparency.  

  • Posting job descriptions that are detailed, accurate, and thorough.
  • Being straightfoward and open about salary and pay.
  • Being open and honest with employees.
  • Communicating frequently with and seeking feedback from employees.
  • Owning up when a mistake is made, and sharing ways to improve in the future.
  • Maintain an open-door policy where employees feel safe and secure coming to have conversations or express any form of grievances.
  • Be upfront and open through all stages of organizational changes your workplace goes through.
leading with transparency

Leading With Empathy Examples

If seeing empathy listed as a necessary leadership skill brought up images of battle-hardened Army Veterans then you’ve likely either served yourself or read The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual. If the concept of soldiers leading with empathy seems odd, add it to your reading list!

The Leadership Field Manual is an outstanding way to become a transparent leader. Forbes recently declared it “one of the best resources on leadership.” In the article, author Prudy Gourguechon describes empathy simply as the ability to walk in another person’s shoes. To feel what they feel and think about what they think.

Empathy is a critical skill for a leader to be able to make effective decisions for their team as well as to be able to communicate to their team effectively. Ask yourself or other team members how a decision will affect them before pulling the trigger. Gather input and perspective as often as you can. You and your team members will ultimately thank you for it. 

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About the Author Chris Craddock

As the leader of Projections' production team, Chris loves to inspire others to perform at the highest levels! From the most challenging leadership opportunities to brainstorming the latest topics leaders want to learn about, Chris provides clear direction and vision.

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