In too many companies & large institutions, it’s common to see the classic, old-fashioned style of leadership in teams. Information flows up the hierarchy and decisions flow down. The people at the lower rungs of the ladder, like a mushroom, are kept in the dark and fed a bunch of crap.
It’s no wonder that the average span of employment at a given company tends to be 2 years or less these days. That’s no way to lead a team with modern sensibilities.
Technically savvy workers have new expectations, and you need to keep up. If you’re not bringing transparency to your team, you’re going to decrease job satisfaction, decrease productivity, and make it harder for your company and your team to succeed at all.
Here’s the science to back that up.
Transparency increases job satisfaction
The Quantum Workplace Employee Engagement Trends report, for the last 3 years running, has found that employees who self-rate their engagement as high also consistently rate trust in the leaders and the organization to set the right course. Trust between employees and management and clear communication of goals and strategies are also highly correlated to employee engagement and longevity at an organization.
Good management engages your employees and gives them the belief that there’s a plan.
When you create a planning document or a position paper, it’s trivially easy these days to publish it your organization in an internal wiki, or a shared Slack channel, or any other method you can think of to make your goals and the reasons behind them clear.
At my company, we share two key documents with all of our staff and keeps them up to date: our OKRs for the current planning period and a strategic roadmap for our product. These let people know what problems we want to solve as a company and help them see how their work is part of that solution.
Transparency increases productivity
You’ve got goals for your company and goals for your teams. How do those relate? How do you align your organization around those goals? If you communicate clearly, your team is empowered to make choices at a higher level than simply doing what they’re told.
When employees understand how the work they’re doing relates to a bigger whole, they’re better able to make sure that work is contributing to the company’s success.
Clarity and transparency around goals is the key force multiplier for your organization that reduces misalignment.
Transparency increases success
The most common reason why projects fail, according to the Project Management Institute, is a lack of visibility about the project’s needs and timelines throughout an organization.
Projects are the key deliverable of most teams, and if you don’t have information flowing freely from one team to another—transparency throughout your organization—you’re likely dooming your project to fail before it gets started.
How to increase team transparency
The first thing to understand is that the best teams over communicate.
The best trick any manager can use to increase transparency is repetition. Saying something once is never enough. The marketer’s old rule of thumb is that you need to tell people something 7 times before it begins to stick. This is certainly true for a manager, too. So tell people what’s going on. Share docs that contain details about the company goals. At every staff meeting, repeat the key goals for the quarter.
Never stop hammering home what you’re trying to achieve until it’s done, and then start repeating your next goal.
It’s important to observe that when you over communicate about what’s going on, you need to do so in the appropriate channel: don’t hold meetings every day if you don’t need to. Oversharing what’s going on through asynchronous channels (email, tasks in a work tracking tool, etc.) is the key to keeping people in the loop. Most importantly, it lets them do so at their own convenience, instead of having to interrupt them.
If you’re looking to move beyond functionalized team transparency to cultural transparency, some other ideas to pursue are:
Trevor Longino is CMO at Unito.io, a tool for improving team and project collaboration. He frequently writes about Leadership, Productivity and Project Management.
Celoxis is a comprehensive project management tool that helps companies streamline management of projects, timesheets, expenses and business processes, specific to their organization. Over the last decade, Celoxis has specialized in delivering improved collaboration and increased efficiency for teams of all sizes, both in SMB and Enterprise segments. To know more visit www.celoxis.com