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Do you work on a team where both leaders and colleagues hide their true intentions?

The outcome of hidden agendas is distrust and inertia, as goals become guesswork and the fear of making a mistake increases.




Last week, as part of our Zoom Lunch & Learn members of our Trust Alliance convened to discuss the topic of team trust, transparency & hidden agendas. We addressed four questions during the hour:

  1. How do you define the role of transparency in the context of a team? (We define it as follows: We reject hidden agendas. We are transparent wherever and whenever possible.)
  2. What causes hidden agendas?
  3. How can transparency be elevated within a team?
  4. Why is transparency frequently cited as the main cause of low trust, even though it is not?

What did our Trust Alliance members have to say about Question #3? How can transparency be elevated within a team?

The following were some of the key take aways:

  1. Both leadership and team transparency “rules” must be clear with no ambiguity.
  2. Lack of rules around transparency creates a lack of respect, often leading to either acquiescence or a challenge to decision making.
  3. Heightened transparency keeps team members more honest, efficient, innovative and collaborative.
  4. Have a policy of openness (not to be confused with transparency.) Always share as much as you can.
  5. Avoid lumping other trust busting behaviors into the transparency category. Know how to identify them and address them separately.
  6. Uncomfortable conversations are okay. People are resilient and able to absorb negative news.
  7. Elevating interpersonal skills like listening enhances transparency.
  8. Complaints and their resolutions should be shared with employees.
  9. Cowardice in some industries allows leaders to hide behind regulations as an excuse for lack of transparency.
  10. Addressing transparency issues in family businesses requires a different skill set.


A final comment:

While courageous and empowered cultures have fewer transparency challenges, transparency alone won’t get a team to the trust “finish line.” In fact, transparency is only 1 of 12 behaviors that elevate trust in teams and organizations. And in the many organizations we have surveyed, transparency is not the #1 cause of low trust. To find out what is, spend 1 minute answering this question and see the results from over 500 respondents.

For more information on how to assess the level of trust on your team or in your organization Tap into Trust and access our simple survey tools.
To participate in future Lunch & Learns, apply to join our vetted Trust Alliance. Our next session is September 23.
Thank you to Bart Alexander, David Belden, Natalie Doyle Oldfield, Charlie Green, Nadine Hack, Olivia Mathijsen and Bob Whipple for your insights. Until next time!
Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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