I am not transparent. I’ve written about being transparent. I’ve preached sermons on transparency. But I’ve come to the realization, only weeks ago, that I’m not a transparent person. And, as I’m sure you are well aware, things don’t always go as smooth as they could if only you were being as transparent as the situation allowed.
However, I believe myself to be authentic. I am genuine and original, compassionate and caring. And I try to share from my heart – as long as I’m not required to be too transparent.
This causes problems for me, obviously. And it can cause problems for any leader or individual. Why? Because being authentic, or at least having some form of authenticity, isn’t enough. You also need transparency.
Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, once said that “we don’t trust people today who aren’t authentic and transparent.” He also stated, in another article, that “people will not trust you unless you learn to share yourself, warts and all. You have to take a risk and be vulnerable. This creates rapport and rapport builds trust.”
It’s fairly evident that, although they cross paths at certain points, authenticity is not transparency. However, when put together, they can be quite a dynamic team. Think peanut butter and jelly. Or salt and pepper. Or Thicke and Cyrus.
As much as I’ve found it difficult to come to terms with my lack of transparency, I’m still naive enough, and hopefully young enough, to learn from my mistakes and embrace more of a seethrough life.
Here are a few things you can do to gain a bit more transparency in your own life:
1. Ask yourself some tough questions.
Am I ready to take the risk of being transparent? Am I ready to be vulnerable with my faults and failures? Many of us have problems, hurts from our past and from our present that have brought us down. But they shouldn’t keep us down. After you’ve asked yourself these tough questions, and can respond with a resounding yes, then it’s time to start writing.
2. Start writing down areas of improvement.
In what areas of your life do you need to live more transparent? For me, one area is my time. I spend more time on certain projects than necessary and not enough time on other projects. More often than not it stems from a lack of discipline and not being transparent with myself and my goals and objectives. If you start writing down areas where you can improve your transparency, the more you’ll want to share those areas with others.
3. Allow others to trust you first.
Part of the process of becoming more transparent and authentic is to first show that we can be trusted. In their book, The Leadership Challenge, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner’s research tells us that “trustworthiness, expertise, and dynamism are crucial to establishing what they call source credibility and, ultimately, that credibility is the foundation of leadership. Simply stated, without trust there is a lack of leadership credibility.” We all want to be trusted. And being transparent is a crucial step in building that trust.
4. Grant more people access into your life.
Allow others more access to the facts of your life. Being completely open with any and everyone isn’t the healthiest of ideas, that’s why we seek one or two people who can hold us accountable and work through some of our more pressing issues. But, on a broader scale, granting access to others by sharing more about our faults and fears and failures will help us become more transparent and better, trustworthy leaders.
So, if you’ll give me the grace enough to be transparent with you, I’d like to admit that I’m just not as open as I probably should be. But I’m working on it. And these simple steps should get me where I need to be.
What areas in your life could use some transparency improvement?