These two concepts seem to be unrelated at first glance. I’d like you to challenge that notion and begin to explore how you can find strength in learning to be more transparent in your leadership.  Are you with me?

When you are in a leadership position, others look to you for cues as to how they should attack an issue, how they should prioritize, and what your hot buttons might be. They simply are looking for direction. People who work for us are inherently good and they want to do the right thing. They want to work on the right thing at the right time. And they want to deliver results that are consistent with your vision. 

How can they accomplish these things that feel so important to them and make them feel like they are making a difference? They need to know their “why”! They need the answers to these questions:

  1. “Why” is this so important?
  2. “Why” is this a priority?
  3. “Why” is this important to the overall strategy?

As a leader, when you are able to let go and become more transparent, you can get greater results from the people you lead – but there’s a way to do that properly so you can get those results.


In my early days as a leader, I had no trouble getting people to follow me and keep them motivated. I thought I was really on to something in my style. But, over time, there was something significant that was missing.  Those people didn’t stay as motivated for as long as I had hoped.  You see, I lost touch with the need to keep them informed. I needed to be more “straight up” with them.

Consider this example.  I was put into a critical leadership role in order to design and execute the largest outsourcing initiative that my Fortune 500 company had ever undertaken.  I had a stellar leadership team that I inherited with this position.  Once we started moving forward on the steps necessary for the due diligence associated with such a large undertaking, this team spent a great deal of time constructing business cases to sell me on keeping the work in-house.

I was getting nowhere fast.  This had become a movement among my leadership team. They viewed their efforts as a way to “save” them and their people from an uncertain fate. I made a critical error – I never properly articulated their “why”!

It wasn’t until I became extremely transparent with them that I started to turn the ship around.  I let them know in no uncertain terms that since the work we did was “non-core” to the company, this may be the solution to get more done with less and finally find a way to effectively manage this important part of the company’s asset base.

The turning point came when I said these words – “If we find a stellar outsourcing partner that can invest in the processes and systems to maintain what we currently manage in an efficient and cost-effective way, we have to move forward.  You can either allow this to “happen to you” or you can participate to shape your own future and that of the department’s employees. You owe it to yourself and others to guide this to the right solution.”

[Tweet “You must be transparent enough to let others know what is at stake – this is a hallmark of leadership.”]

When you are transparent, you operate from a truthful, open place that is aligned with what you need others to know in order to gain their commitment. To be transparent doesn’t mean you have to “tell all at any cost”. It does mean that you should be willing to share truth from a place of knowledge, compassion and understanding. When your team understands the “why”, they are more likely to get on the train with you.

My ability to be transparent has become one of my strengths. I used to think that keeping things close to the vest served to protect those who worked for me.  I didn’t want them to feel the pain and discomfort of the difficult decisions we had to make or the the difficult things we often had to do to grow the business.

At the end of the day, if you are a leader in charge of other leaders, you can handle anything and so can they. They will respect your transparency.  It will make them feel like you have pulled them “into the tent”. When their direct reports ask them questions, they can shape the message with the truth as they understand it.


  1. Practice being more transparent.
    • Don’t apologize for the truth – allow yourself to shape your messages in a way that increases understanding.
  2. Find ways to be a transparent leader – every day.
    • Make sure you understand your own “why” and can translate that to others.
  3. If you sense a disconnect within your team regarding their direction, don’t ignore it.
    • Learn to pick up the clues and tackle the issues right away.
  4. Practice the right level of transparency for any particular situation.
    • You may not want to share your own deepest feelings, but give your people enough of you to enhance their understanding of the task at hand. 
  5. See your transparency as a new skill. 
    • Illustrate your ability to be transparent and use it to motivate others.


When you commit to transparency in your leadership you will find that you close information voids that had been felt by your people previously. It is a fact that when employees don’t have an understanding of their “why”, they fill in the blanks with their own information. This can be quite destructive in your company environment and can lead to chaos and lack of accomplishment.

Wouldn’t it be great if your people had the proper information, delivered in the right way, to make them even more committed to achieving the results you need?

This is what transparency in your leadership can do for you.


I hope you will try some of these techniques. I’ve done my best to share my suggestions on enhancing your transparency and I hope you will pay it forward by motivating your own people in a different way. 

If you are interested in learning more, you can download a free chapter of my book. In this download, I give you a glimpse of my authentic self – the one that has bolstered my own strength. You can download a copy using the form below. 


Keep in touch and let me know if this resonated with you.  I want my Leadership Series to hit the points that you need in your own personal and professional development.

To your Success,