The notion of transparency really fascinates me. First, how fluid the definition is. What does it mean to be “transparent”? One way to look at it is the opposite of secret. A commitment to transparency does not ensure there will not be any secrets. Many would say that there is need for secrecy, at least in certain areas. Defining those areas is, not too surprising, is also changeable. Everyone seems to have differing opinions. Certainly part of that stems from who benefits/who is harmed. For me, and this thread (at least), I clearly identify two macro-areas: security (keeping someone/people/things safe) and inhibiting distraction. The later is less about “secrecy” (and it’s assorted baggage) and rather, more gently, “limited transparency”. As a leader, having your team fully “in the know” about greater strategy, issues, etc, would first and foremost keep people from getting their “work” done. Or, closely related, is avoiding “boring to death with details”. Anyway, there are also larger issues of morality, et al. These are all interesting, and important, related topics. However, I’m focusing on the role trust plays.

Establishing trust is critical before the need for secrecy comes. For secrecy often entails, dare I say implies, deception. Especially if trust is damaged in any way, the assumption of a request for secrecy is deception. So many leaders assume/expect/demand the requisite trust without building relationship, with establishing respect and trust. They, of course, are then shocked with any absence of detail causes distraction and confusion.

Trust comes from relationship, from people living their principles and establishing a record of quality. Then holding back detail is tolerated, accepted.


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