Prizing privileged information and a need to know attitude sends a clear signal to your team, clients, customers, and community that you don’t trust them. Keeping secrets suggests you have something to hide, which breeds suspicion and cynicism. Transparent communication inside and outside of the workplace, on the other hand, helps businesses build trust and foster meaningful relationships. Plus, when you’re transparent about what’s going on with your business, you set the narrative instead of allowing others to decide it for you.
In this post, we’ll dig into the benefits of transparent communication and how to build transparency into your company culture.
Open and transparent communication is important both internally and externally. Internal communication refers to interactions within your organization, such as communication between business owners, leadership, and managers, as well as between departments and team members.
External transparency is equally important. It includes any communication outside of your organization with clients, customers, community members, other brands, and industry peers.
Businesses with transparent external communication are more relatable, shape their own narrative, and build stronger relationships.
Being transparent means you’re able to tell your own story; you decide the narrative instead of allowing rumors to spread. As a business, transparent communication keeps your team informed and actively involved in what’s going on with the company and brand. Make sure to communicate openly with the entire team, not just a select few. People talk, and rumors spread like wildfire.
Transparency also keeps disinformation away from your customers, audience, and community. Tell your own story. Be open and honest about your business’s successes, mistakes, intentions, and goals.
Transparent communication cultivates thoughtful disagreement instead of conflict. A little bit of disagreement doesn’t hurt anyone; in fact, it sparks deeper conversations and thoughtful dialogues. It may even help you solve problems or generate completely new ideas.
Speaking openly about differences enables you to address them before something small turns into a larger conflict. It’s better to be open than let conflict fester. Your workplace isn’t a one-off group project you can leave behind and forget about. You’re a team; hopefully, you’ll be working together for a long time to come.
Transparent workplaces are better at problem solving. Tough problems require risk taking, and there’s always a chance of failure. Open communication means teams are comfortable with each other and able to trust each other, which raises the team’s confidence. Employees need to know they can count on one another.
Don’t hide anything from your team. You’re all working together to achieve the same goal. One person's success is everyone's success. Transparency fosters a culture where teams solve tough problems together instead of a group of individuals competing to succeed alone.
Transparent communication builds strong relationships in and out of the workplace. Internally, a transparent team knows each others’ strengths and weaknesses and communication preferences. This greater understanding of one another improves decision making, problem solving, and productivity. It also creates a happy and healthy work environment where people genuinely enjoy working together.
Outside of the workplace, transparency builds stronger relationships with your customers and community. Openness means your customers can trust you, and honesty will help people relate to your brand. Leave the mystery to James Bond. Your business will find more customers, build partnerships, and establish a committed audience with open and transparent external communication.
Workplace trust is completely intertwined with transparency. Trust is the most important part of an effective team. It’s needed for decision making, team morale, problem solving, and growth.
Transparent communication from leadership builds trust in the business, helping employees buy into the company’s culture and vision. Transparency amongst team members builds a cohesive unit that believes in each other and works together to solve problems. Trusting environments are more desirable workplaces, so all of that transparency will also help you attract and retain talent.
📚 Learn more about the importance of trust in the workplace, how to build trust, and how to regain trust once it’s lost in our guide:How to Build Trust in the Workplace.
Trust is incredibly powerful outside of the workplace too. Brand trust establishes loyal followers, business advocates, and long-term customers. A brand that is trusted will have customers coming back time and time again. And those advocates will tell all of their friends, too.
Transparent communication will attract people to your brand, building long-lasting customer and community relationships.
Live and breathe transparency. If you value integrity and honesty, make transparency a key part of your company culture. Make it one of your brand values. Brand values affect decision making, the type of people you hire, the audience you build, and the customers you attract.
If transparency is a brand value, then that value needs to be upheld from the top down. Be transparent in team meetings, one-on-ones, when giving feedback, interacting with your community, and on social media. Hold everyone accountable to your brand values. And that means everyone. The business owner, CEO, intern, and everyone in between should prioritize transparent communication.
Feedback is how we grow. We need to know what we’re doing well and what we need to improve. Otherwise, we get complacent, and sporadic moments of feedback can feel extremely jarring, leading to questions like how long have I been making that mistake? Why didn’t they tell me earlier?
Giving and receiving continuous feedback is a key piece of transparent communication. Be honest about an employee’s job performance, and let them know they can be honest with you about how you’re doing too.
It doesn’t mean a criticism free-for-all; it means open conversations between team members throughout a project, not just after its completion. Everyone, management included, needs to be open to receiving both positive and negative feedback. If the way you’re running the team isn’t working for one of the members, it’s going to get in the way of productivity. Communication and transparency are essential. You need to be willing to hear everyone out. Listen to feedback and incorporate it to let your team know their voice matters.
Continuous feedback enhances the engagement and collaboration of team members, and it provides plenty of opportunities to say thank you! Celebrate successes, breakdown and analyze failures, and always remember to thank your team for their hard work.
A fear of failure often keeps people from being open and honest. To truly bring transparency into your organization, you need to embrace failures as the learning opportunities they are.
Ensure your team isn’t afraid of failing, so team members can admit when they’ve made a mistake. Only then will people feel comfortable communicating with transparency. No one is going to speak up about a problem, mistake, or failed idea if they’re afraid of the consequences.
Embrace failure in your workplace, and turn each mistake into a learning opportunity. Without taking risks on new ideas, you’ll never grow or innovate as a business—which also endangers your future success. Companies that cling to the status quo are the first to fall behind.
Transparency doesn't come naturally to everyone. It takes practice and continual effort. As a manager or business owner, it’s up to you to create opportunities for your team to practice transparent communication and build trust with one another.
Team building activities cultivate trust, boost morale, increase collaboration, and improve engagement. They give employees a chance to interact with one another outside of the daily grind of work. Team building also presents a number of skill building and learning opportunities.
Choose team building opportunities that focus on team communication, openness, and trust. You could learn a new skill together, take a class, complete personality assessments, or
participate in an escape room. The team building activity doesn’t need to be focused on business. What’s important is that you’re all doing something together, either learning from one another or learning about one another.
Working remotely is no excuse to neglect team building. It’s even more important for remote teams to have a reason to come together. There are plenty of remote team building options, such as virtual escape rooms, virtual wine tastings, or facilitated programs designed to engage remote teams.
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