Transparency and Leaders Will to Create a Culture of Candor

23 01 2015

There is no diplomacy like candor.     E.V.Lucas

A culture of transparency and candor is a must for every organisation.

From their vital book; “Transparency” —Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman and Jim O’Toole addresses us with the vital question whether organizations have the courage to be open, honest and most of all, transparent.

The writers make us aware that claiming to be transparent is not the same as actually being transparent. You may believe in transparency without practicing it.

Warren Bennis gives us this definition of being transparent; “It means, in addition to the literal ‘capable of being seen through’, without guile or concealment; open, frank, candid”.

When companies cover up their mistakes instead of learning from them, they will probably do the same another time. Author’s; “But any time an organization makes a seriously wrong decision, its leader should call for an intensive postmortem. Such learning opportunities are too often overlooked”.

The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership, is a book written by, M.A. Soupios and Panos Mourdoukoutas. The book implements thought-provoking ideas from Aristotle, Heraclitus, Sophocles, Hesiod and others.

I have chosen rule 5; Always Embrace the Truth  —–Antisthenes. Authors; “Wise leaders, the men and women who possess genuine insight about administrative life, understand that honest assessment is an essential requirement of effective leadership. However, there seems to be an inverse correlation between level of authority and level of truth. In other words, the higher up the corporate ladder an executive ascends, the less likely it is that person will receive complete and accurate evaluation”

When climbing the corporate ladder, leaders makes the distance to the subordinates to evaluate them harder. They often have their own agenda and is not always sharing their information with their colleagues. “Encouraging to whatever degree such submissiveness on the part of subordinates jeopardizes the welfare of both the organization and the leader”.

Going back to the book on transparency, and let us see what Bennis, Goleman and O’Toole have to say on this important subject. The author’s are signalizing that wise leaders are engaged and close to the actions. “There’s a compelling reason to become more open to information from people at every level; those close to the action usually know more about what’s actually going on with clients, with production or customer service, than those on the floors. ( There’s truth to the maxim, “None of us is as smart as all of us” )

Leaders who cares about a good culture in their organizations, develop a culture of candor. Author’s; “Before an organization can develop a culture of candor, it must examine the cultural rules that currently govern it. Such cultural rules run deep and they typically resist change”.

Leaders need to take action if they want information to flow freely in the organization and in that case be the one who set good examples. “If leaders regularly demonstrate that they want to hear more than incessant happy talk, and praise those with the courage to articulate unpleasant truths, then the norm will begin to shift toward transparency”.

Lead with Humility, written by Jeffrey Krames, translates the pope’s key ideas and practices into practical tactics that anyone can emulate. Krames, emphasize’s Pope Francis great leadership style as a good example for anyone who wants to connect in a meaningful way with employees, teammates and customers for their organization. “He believes that authentic humility empowers leaders like no other leadership quality. “If we can develop a truly humble attitude, we can change the world”, wrote Bergoglio before becoming pope. And he misses no opportunity to show that a person can never be too humble and that people can learn to be more humble. In doing so, he has altered the standards by which we measure our leaders”.

Here are the Pope’s key ideas;

Remove the walls-literally-between yourself and your employees.

-Enlist your executives to join you each year at the front desk or in the delivery truck.

-Consider all points of view, and make decisions in consultation-not as snap judgements.

-Focus on enhancing people’s strengths, not fixing their weaknesses.

-Break the habit of doing things the same old way, and reinvent ineffective process.

-Communicate with everyone, at every level of the organization.

-Surround yourself with truth-tellers-no matter how painful it is to hear.

-Shake up the status quo and get out of your comfort zone.

 Hope is the only good that is common to all men, those who have nothing else possess hope still  —–Thales

Writer,

Inger Lise E Greger/MSc Change Management

https://inger-lise.net/page/2/





The Challenge About Trust.

7 01 2015

As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live —-Johan Wolfgang Goethe

“Can you trust a virtual avatar ? A Robot ?An unknown person on Facebook ? How trust works in a world of rapid technological advancement and virtual interaction — a world where the science of trust can be manipulated and used for good or ill”.

Responsibilities are given to him on whom trust rests. Responsibility is always a sign of trust —-James Cash Penney

‘The Truth About Trust’, is an interesting book about how we think about trust, but also how we understand, communicate and make decisions in every area of our life. Psychologist David De Steno, makes us aware of how trust influences us at every level and at every stage of life.

We all have the need to trust and be trusted. The writer makes us aware that the need to trust implies the fundamental fact, that we are all vulnerable. “The ability to satisfy your needs or obtain the outcomes you desire is not entirely under your control. Whether a business partner embezzles profits that doom your corporation, a spouse has an affair that wrecks your marriage, or a supposed confidant tweets a personal factoid that ruins your reputation, your well-being, like it or not, often depends on the cooperation of others”.

In trust we have great benefits and great risks. “We rely on it to find a path to success – a path that, for humans, often necessitates the cooperation, of others”.

De Steno, makes us aware that if we place trust the right way, it engenders success in learning, in intimate relationships , in building social networks, and, in reality, in most every interpersonal endeavour that requires joint action. However, placed incorrectly, failure awaits.

In communication, both verbal and nonverbal, the purpose is to pass information to someone else. “To understand why trust is different, consider the following. Imagine you possessed an easily detectable and unambiguous signal that indicated you were trustworthy – say a giant letter T on your forehead. What would happen ? Everyone, and I mean everyone, would want you as a partner. But with this popularity would come one big problem: many of those desiring to partner with you might not be trustworthy themselves. They’d know you’d be easy to exploit; unlike them, you’d always hold up your end of the deal. In the end, you’d lose everything you had, you’d be popular but poor”.

Body language is not always giving the signals we think it is. The author gives us an example of a person leaning away which indicates a hidden desire to avoid or otherwise distance oneself from an interaction partner. De Steno;”That may well be true at times. But if you’re looking to identify untrustworthy individuals based solely on body orientations, lots of people with bad backs are going to be labeled as threats”.

Good examples on how wrong we may perceive peoples body language. “A man feeling its leg thinks the elephant is a pillar. Another feeling its tail thinks it’s a rope. A third feeling it’s tusk thinks the elephant is a pipe. You get the idea”. Let us take a closer look on how the author explain; “If we’re not looking at cues as sets in a specific context, we’re likely to miss the forest for the trees. If we’re looking for trust in single micro-expressions or out of context, we won’t see it at all”.

The nonverbal behaviour mostly occurs outside our awareness which according to the  author, means that people are almost constantly emitting cues without knowing it. “And if they’re not aware they’re doing something, how in the world are we going to make them control it ? Training them to be aware doesn’t really work”.

Leaders who show trust to their people are in return trusted by them.

Through his book; On Becoming a Leader, Warren Bennis, makes us aware of the importance of trust between leaders and co-workers. “Leadership without mutual trust is a contradiction in terms. Trust resides squarely between faith and doubt”.

Bennis, tells us that leaders always have faith in themselves, their co-workers, their abilities as well as their mutual possibilities. “But leaders also have sufficient doubt to question, challenge, probe, and thereby progress. Bennis;”In the same way, his or her co-workers must believe in the leader, themselves, and their combined strength, but they must feel sufficiently confident to question, challenge, probe, and test too”. A primary task for every leader is to maintain that vital balance between faith and doubt, preserving that mutual trust.

De Steno, tells us that when we are being trustworthy, it is not only about being fair and honest when dealing with other people who is depending on you, it also involves being competent. Meaning from an evolutionary perspective, have the ability to know whether other people is capable of helping you, is as important as knowing whether or not they’ll choose to actually do it.

“Unlike signals related to fairness and loyalty, however, subtlety isn’t quite as important for signals of competence. Although broad casting a willingness to cooperate might be risky before you know whether a potential partner is similarly inclined, signalling competency poses no similar peril. To the contrary, the only purpose it serves is to demonstrate one’s desirability as a partner or leader upon whom others can rely”.

The question here is not about the pride and feelings of competence is doing for the people experiencing them, according to De Steno, it is about how these feelings send signals of trustworthiness to other people. “Wisdom comes from knowing when and why to rely on reason or intuition – from knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each. The case of trust is no different”.

True intuitive expertise is learned from prolonged experience with good feedback on mistakes —-Daniel Kahneman

Writer,

Inger Lise E Greger/Master of Science in Change Management

https://inger-lise.net/page/2/








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