A question leaders often ask themselves is how can I better engage my team? Or, in other words, how can I capture the heart, energy, and mind of my team so that they willingly give their best at work?
These are good questions. If you are a leader asking yourself these things, it is a good sign of things to come.
So what can a leader do to better engage those they lead?
Though there are many levers you can pull to improve engagement, one extremely effective one is to improve transparency. Transparency is sharing information freely and actively helping everyone on your team to be-in-the-know.
Too often leaders withhold information that is meaningful to their team. This may occur for two reasons.
One, a leader may unintentionally withhold information. This happens most often when a leader believes or assumes those they lead already know information that they don’t.
Two, a leader can intentionally withhold information. This might happen when a leader may fear that giving too much information may put them or the company at risk.
Either unintentional or intentional, not providing transparency can play a significant role in the engagement level of your team.
If you believe you might be more on the unintentional end of the problem, then make a conscious effort to share more. Try not to assume. Always share information even if you believe people may already know it. And even if they do know it, they will appreciate your efforts to keep them informed.
If you believe you might be more on the intentional side of the problem, ask respected peers and colleagues, and/or your supervisors what they feel is appropriate to share and not share. I’ve found that erroring on the side of sharing too much is a lot less risky than sharing too little.
Greater transparency engages a team because it helps people see a more complete picture. It helps team members know how the team is performing, the direction it is moving, the objectives that are important, and what they can do to help the cause.
Perhaps most important of all, transparency can help a team member feel cared about, valued, and appreciated.
In my experience, work gets done when transparency exists. When people are in the know or feel they are in the know, they make things happen.
When leaders are open and transparent with their teams, it builds trust and leads to higher levels of engagement. So, if you want to better engage your team, improve transparency.
What can you begin to do today to improve transparency within your team?