Monday, June 16, 2014

Power, Transparency and Culture

Culture change is an interesting concept. Typically driven by a desire to become a world class organization, the core tenets of a major culture change must include the willingness of senior leaders to be humble, transparent in their decisions, and be unafraid to confront those that are resistant to change.

Humility Is Hard
The interplay between power and humility is a daily struggle for many leaders. Finding a way to appreciate the authority they have, while simultaneously doing everything possible to give that power away (you've heard of delegation, right?) is simply too difficult for some leaders.

The perception that the leader, particularly a newer leader who suddenly has more power than ever before, is making decisions without including others because they know best is dangerous. The leader may be correct in their ideas, however the delivery is so critical to achieve buy-in from those affected that simply making proclamations from on-high engenders no loyalty. After all...most leaders like loyalty among their teams, right? 

Transparency - Can You See It?
One of the easiest ways to achieve culture change is to be open about why decisions are being made. This sounds embarrassingly simple, yet time and time again decisions are made but the rationale for those decisions is kept close to the vest. Why? 

Is there a fear that by explaining why certain things are happening in an organization the leader will open to criticism? Is that so bad? Don't we all perform better when there is healthy dialogue, constructive feedback, and improved decisions emerge?

Confrontation Is For the Real Leaders
The trap I see so many leaders fall into however is exercising their authority in the absence of sharing why decisions are made. Their credibility quickly erodes. Sadly, they don't realize this is even happening because of their painfully obvious fear of confrontation. How in the world can anyone lead and do so from behind closed doors; or worse, through sending their team to deliver messages that should be delivered by them in the first place?

Confrontation is not is not fun...and it is absolutely required if one is to be an effective leader that builds trust.


How About You
Is building trust on your radar screen? If so, you'll need to push yourself outside your comfort zone of power. Otherwise, you'll simply be the hamster on the spinning wheel of power, transparency, and culture change dreams.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.



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