Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

On Transparency and Openness

An open door

Over the years, I’ve been criticized for being too transparent. For being too open about many things. About my stumbles, about my foibles, about my ignorance.

I get the feeling that in some corners of the world (both online and offline) we’re expected to only show and share the good things that happen to us. We’re only expect to share our triumphs, our wins.

If I did that, I’d be creating a wholly skewed view of myself and my work.

I believe that being open, being transparent is the right path when dealing with people and when trying to grow as a person.

Transparency and Openness in Practice

Over the years, I’ve led a couple of teams at various jobs I’ve held. In each position, I included my teams in all of my major decisions. Why? Those decisions would affect the members of my team, and I felt they needed to offer their input. Plus, I figured (correctly as it turned out) that the members of my teams would offer ways to improve my decisions.

Going one step further, I always told the members of my team when I was going to quit even before I’d handed in my notice. Why did I do that? Again, my decision to move on would effect them and had a right to know I was heading for the door.

The Core of Transparency and Openness

That’s trust. Trust in yourself. Trust in the fact you’re doing the right thing. Trust in your abilities.

Openness and transparency isn’t a one-way street. It’s also a matter of trusting the people that you’re dealing with. Trusting that they’ll be open and transparent with you, too.

Of course you’ll run into people who won’t share your belief in openness and transparency. You can’t avoid them. In the end, though, they don’t matter. Focus on the people you do trust, who’ve come to appreciate being open and transparent. Those are the people who matter.

Final Thought

I’m transparent and open because I believe it’s the right thing to do. being transparent and open shows that while I’m experienced and, to some degree, influential, I still make mistakes. But I learn from those mistakes.

Being transparent and open shows that I’m human. That I have human foibles. It demonstrates that I’m not some untouchable guru or expert. It demonstrates that I’m more or less like everyone else. It demonstrates that there’s more to learn and that I’m willing to learn.

And that’s the persona I want the world to see.

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