As COVID-19 continues to halt business as usual and raise questions about the futures of many organizations, employees world-wide are looking to leadership for guidance. In a time when answers are few and questions are many, clarity and accessibility from leadership are important qualities to have in our organizations. Executive coach Christopher Salem believes that “transparency builds trust,” and this increases employee commitment to “be fully vested and for them to apply themselves as a team to achieve company goals.”
Why is transparency so important?
With the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and its effects on the world, now, more than ever, transparency from leadership is necessary to ease fears, gain trust and possibly even receive helpful ideas. With the data surrounding COVID-19, we know association pros are at risk. Creating a space for clear communication and direction can not only lead your organization through this pandemic but could also strengthen your team for the future.
Don’t add to the confusion.
Everyone wants to have all the answers, but the fact is right now no one has answers. Having realistic expectations for your organization, and being forthcoming about those expectations creates a solid base for your employees.
- Take it one day at a time. Leadership is not expected to have a master plan when new information and sanctions are passed every day.
- Everything can change in an instant. Acknowledge that any plans you make could be thrown out the window at any moment.
Don’t blindside your employees.
Try to minimize surprise by being more forthcoming than usual. Having leadership volunteer updates on the status of the company strengthens the bond between your organization and its employees. Employees who are kept up to date are more likely to stay loyal in times of struggle.
- Shift to allowing open meetings so employees feel informed.
- Share data collected in reports and explain how it affects your organization.
- Clear any confusion on expectations by creating a townhall for employees to ask questions and express concern.
While transparency is a very important trait during this time, The US Chamber of Commerce Foundation reminds us that “the concept should not be interpreted as a decree to disclose every document or require guests at every meeting.” They also believe that “the desire to be transparent should not affect the greater need to protect confidential information.”
Don’t leave your employees hanging.
Nothing says “we are here for you” more than accessibility from leadership. Having a responsive and timely organization instills a sense of trust and support for employees. Having this support system creates confidence to work harder, and smarter.
- Schedule a recurring meeting where employees can share thoughts and opinions with leadership.
- Create a newsletter or memo to send your employees once a week to give organizational updates.
- Return calls or emails promptly. Constantly playing phone tag with leadership is discouraging and could lead to distrust.
We all know how hectic and crazy COVID-19 has made our lives, but by creating a more transparent organization, you can effectively ease stress and worry from already stressed and worried employees. If you support your employees, your employees will support you.
April 23, 2020