18 Habits of Emotionally Intelligent Leaders
Habit #5 – Genuinely Open

18 Habits of Emotionally Intelligent Leaders. Habit #5 Genuinely Open

Over 18 weeks, we are excited to introduce 18 habits that separate emotionally intelligent leaders from the rest. These habits fill the gap between mediocre, good, and great leaders.

Habit #5 – Genuinely Open

Transparency can be uncomfortable. Yet, there is something for us to learn when we pull back the covers to explore where that discomfort is coming from. The inner work is always the most difficult.

There is a vulnerability in transparency. However, transparency is not:

🛑 Telling every little detail
🛑 Always seeking consensus
🛑 Sharing all of your personal information
🛑 Trying to be someone you are not

In one survey, while 55% of leaders believed their organizations were very transparent, just 18% of their employees agreed. 46% of employees state that a lack of transparent communication from leadership has driven them to seek a new job.*

Transparency in leadership is the practice of openly and honestly communicating, sharing information, and making decisions that promote trust, accountability, and inclusivity within an organization. It involves creating an environment where leaders are forthcoming, accessible, and clear in their actions and communications, fostering a culture of openness and integrity.

When leaders foster openness and transparency, they:

✅ Build psychological safety
✅ Improve collaboration
✅ Increase engagement and satisfaction
✅ Develop accountable cultures
✅ Increase trust

It’s easy to communicate transparently when things are going well.
The mark of a great leader is the ability to communicate with transparency when the team is facing tough times, such as deadlines not being met, revenue not meeting expectations, individual performance being subpar, or tough conversations being needed.

Transparency is a critical component of creating Modern Magnetic Cultures (MMCs). Like all of our 18 Behaviors of Emotionally Intelligent Leaders, this skill can be developed through intention and practice.

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Survey referenced: https://slack.com/blog/transformation/trust-tools-and-teamwork-what-workers-want

18 Habits of Emotionally Intelligent Leaders. Habit #5 Strategies Genuinely Open

Many of us were taught that leaders should keep information close to the vest. In other words, share only on an as-needed basis.

In today’s highly attuned workforce, employees expect the opposite.

Employees want to feel like they understand the rationale and context for decisions being made—even the challenging ones.

Employees are remarkably resilient, and when we trust them enough to share openly, they reward us with insight and loyalty.

If you are interested in improving transparency and openness, here are a few strategies to consider:

1️⃣  Admit Mistakes
None of us are perfect. When we make mistakes, it is very likely that others on the team will notice. Even with no one else notices, admitting your mistakes shows a high level of integrity. It role models how you expect your team to approach mistakes. That is a win for all involved!

2️⃣  Seek Feedback During Tough Decisions
In the past, my tendency was to get quiet during the times I was faced with tough decisions. After all, it’s lonely at the top, right? Well, that’s an old adage we need to put to rest. If you are feeling alone with all of the weight on your shoulders, it could be an indication that you could open up and seek feedback or guidance. You don’t have to do it all alone!

3️⃣  Overshare vs Undersharing
How much should you share? While you don’t want to share any confidential information and you don’t want to share prematurely, there is value in providing a lot of context and sharing the rationale behind decisions. The desire not to explain yourself is so 90’s!

4️⃣  Clear Expectations and Accountability
One overlooked aspect of transparency is being crystal 🔎 clear about your expectations. This includes genuinely sharing when they are not being met. The final piece of this puzzle is holding everyone accountable for meeting or exceeding expectations. Including yourself!

Being Genuinely Open is a powerful skill leaders can leverage the increase team engagement, foster trust and create cultures of accountability.

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