Thursday, December 11, 2008

Is being transparent good or bad?

I'm going to break my own taboo hear and blog a bit about my job.

Several years ago, I heard a lot about people being transparent. It took me a while to understand that this was viewed as a good thing. The idea was that you could see straight through someone who was transparent. What you see is what you get. Their walk matches their talk. If they tell you something, they mean it. And it's real.

But my question is, is being transparent always a good thing?

In my business some managers are known as being transparent. In this case, that means that "stuff" flows right through them. If their boss says something, it flows straight down hill. You can be sure that any flack they get, you will get. If they get praise for something, they will pass that along as well.

Less transparent managers run interference. They realize that sometimes sales are affected by the economy and that no matter how many hours we work, we just can't always have an affect on customer decisions.

So which is better? Transparency or not?


Anonymous said...

I never subscribed to the "'stuff' flows downhill" reasoning. We should run interference for employees and pass along what they should know, but not everything.

Kris said...

i think of transparency as honesty or accountability.


Brooke said...

What Kris said.

David said...

I'd say to be transparent whenever possible. If you can't, try to look transparent to keep people from taking too much interest in it.

Just don't ever get caught acting transparent or ever intentionally mislead people, just let them form their own conclusions without correcting them.