It's difficult to define transparency in leadership.
How much do we share with our team? Is it possible to over-share?
Is the standard simply "need to know?" Do we share financial reports as a demonstration of transparency?
Hillary Clinton had a bad week essentially because of a transparency issue. I haven't heard credible claims that she has done anything illegal, but the existence of her second unofficial email account reveals more questions than answers. (Her husband is noted for his refusal to even use email. Members of his staff claim he has only sent two emails in his life).
I wonder how many of us consider that either of the Clintons project transparency in leadership?
How do pastors project transparency? The fishbowl lifestyle seems to imply that pastors live life as an open book. Nothing to hide. What you see is what I am.
But certainly many spiritual leaders are said to be "closed-off, inaccessible, aloof." Perhaps some leaders are intentionally not transparent due to the threat of a judgmental board or congregation.
It seems to me that a transparent leader is primarily full of integrity.
Followers will allow their leaders to be flawed. But few will follow a leader with low integrity.
Back to Hillary and Bill ... has their leadership been enriched by their personal integrity? I suppose the answer to that question depends upon whether it is asked of a follower or detractor. The fuss about a second email account is that some people simply do not trust Hillary. Email-gate is simply a data point.
So perhaps transparency is as simple as a definition of integrity to "do what you said you would do." Maybe it's not about how much information I convey but rather how well I serve others.
Servant leaders tend to appear more open and transparent because the leader's focus is on serving others rather than self.
I may not be able to define transparency, but I can feel it.
This article was originally published on March 13, 2015.
Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.
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