Would you be brave enough to publish your devastating failures to the world? When Jack Welch wrote Straight From The Gut he was determined to openly share his business experience – everything from successful long-term strategies to his worst mistakes. Jack’s unselfish sharing is his attempt to save the rest of us from taking the same painful paths. In my estimation this is a stunning example of transparent leadership. This is recommended reading for leaders in any industry.
There is beauty in admitting mistakes. It sets the tone for honest relationships. A leader who can create an environment in which people feel free to be wrong will take his/her organization to higher levels of innovation, productivity and results.
Another element of transparent leadership comes from identifying our own hidden agendas and making intentional decisions about their usefulness. Are we truly present with others or are we silently reinforcing an unexpressed belief that is rolling around in the back of our mind? One way to test these sideline thoughts is to employ perception checking by asking: “Would you like to hear something I’m thinking right now?” Sharing these insights in a respectful way gives both parties a chance to examine alternate paths of thought. It also serves to bring your internal musings out into the light where they can be further developed or quashed.
If you are intrigued by perception checking as a leadership tool, I recommend Susan Scott’s book Fierce Conversations. Don’t be put off by the title – according to the author a fierce conversation is one in which we come out from behind ourselves into the conversation and make it real.