Through the Unknown, Comes Transparency

In our September 17, 2015 blog post, we posed the question of “Is It Possible to Embrace Change?” We shared that Jason Clarke, the founder of Minds at Work in Australia, gave a great Tedx talk and explained how we can embrace change in the workplace, even when there may be resistance to it.

This week, we received an email from Vice Chancellor Harry Le Grande about the budget process for our division, including details about how we are awaiting our specific budget targets and guidelines for how we budget our funds.

Naturally, there may be feelings of uncertainty among ALL staff members at this time. Many of us may have unanswered questions; however, at this time, there are not yet answers to all of the questions. This is when communicating with transparency can help in the process of change and uncertainty.

Transparency is critical to staff engagement and trust. Being willing to share openly and authentically–even the difficult or limited information–demonstrates to staff that the team trusts one another, input is valued, and all staff are viewed as true strategic partners in driving the success of the Division forward. As Harry said, “Your creative thinking, resourcefulness, and resiliency has led us to be seen as leaders not just here on campus but across our industry. If we can apply that same talent and skill to the challenges before us, I know we’ll be well served.”

Transparency can also pave the way for greater effectiveness as a team. Forbes lists five powerful things that happen when a leader is transparent:

  • Problems are solved faster because the team knows the true variables you’re trying to solve for.
  • Teams are built more easily because employees can more openly share their perspectives, allowing supervisors to better match employees to the right assignments, teams, and opportunities.
  • Relationships grow authentically because colleagues share their true selves and are open with each other, helping to avoid misunderstandings and unproductive conflicts.
  • People begin to promote trust in their leader. They not only trust the leader more themselves, they’re more likely to push others toward trust and generosity of spirit toward that leader.
  • Higher levels of performance emerge because of all of the above.

For further information, please attend the February 12th, 2016 SA Roundtable that will be held from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at the Unit 1 All Purpose Room.

To learn more on the importance of transparency and addressing change in the workplace, check out these articles:

4 Reasons You Need to Embrace Transparency in the Workplace

Jason Clarke’s Ted Talk on “Embracing Change”

10 Tips for Handling Change in the Workplace

Inviting Feedback as a Guest in Your “Home”

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How often have you heard that feedback is a gift? There are often tips and articles out there of techniques on how to give feedback, but there is less information on how to actually receive it in a similar “gift-like” quality. The gift in receiving feedback is that we have the opportunity to gain an awareness of how we are being perceived by others; and we may not have insight to this unless we are willing to seek it.

Have you thought about the type of environment you create in inviting feedback into your “home?” Home can be defined as the workplace, a relationship between two people, or the environment and culture that you establish as a leader.

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We all have a choice to receive feedback in a way that is open-minded and perhaps may take us by surprise. Before soliciting feedback from others, it’s important to reflect if you are truly willing to listen to their perspectives and then act on it. The other important thing to keep in mind is whether there is trust established, in order for others to give honest feedback–positive and constructive. Both parties have to practice vulnerability in sharing and receiving the information. Lastly, if managers are asking for feedback from their staff and it is not acted upon, it may cause staff to feel unheard or disappointed. To learn more about how to get feedback from your staff, check out this practical and quick article by Executive Coach Esther Derby.

 

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We asked some of our GO BIG team members (some managers and front line staff) of what allows them to fully receive feedback and then act upon it. Here’s what they shared:

“Having trust in the person giving me feedback. This allows me to be a better person and professional.” 

 

“Understanding that my slip-ups aren’t failures, they are learning opportunities. Letting go of the notion of perfection has also been key.”

 

“If I trust the motive and have asked for the feedback from the person. It’s helpful when the feedback can be immediately used to solve a challenge I’m having.”

 

“Hurt feelings might be part of the process, but understanding that I will get over the sting and likely learn a thing or two if only I let myself.”

 

“If the person has taken the time to build a positive working relationship with me, and I see them as someone who is being honest and trustworthy. This approach eases the impact, if any.”

Here are 3 tips that you can do today to receive feedback from others:

  1. At the last 5-10 minutes of a meeting, ask participants (on a scale of 1-5 ) how successful the meeting went in regards to decisions made and actions required. This will give you a quick pulse of any unanswered questions people may still have. 
  2. Managers can contact any of the L&D consultants (David Atwood, Annalyn Cruz, or Erin Wixson) to gather anonymous feedback from their staff and synthesize the feedback. 
  3. In your next 1:1 with a staff member, ask for feedback in regards to how you can make the workplace culture better for them. Try by the following week to make a behavioral change that addresses their perspective.

 

It Starts with TRUST

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Original imaged posted at http://images.forbes.com/media/2010/07/21/0721_trust.jpg

Great Place to Work states that it is the everyday relationships built within an organization, not the perks and benefits, that make a workplace great. And it is the factor of trust that is at the center of it all. Their research states that managers and staff alike want to trust the people they work for and work together as a team/family in a trustful environment.

As a leader, it is absolutely vital to create an environment of trust with your staff. Many of you are already doing what is on the Top 10 list below. Challenge yourself to do two steps above your current baseline in the next month.

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  1. Keep promises and tell the truth. This is the basis of integrity, which will lead to trust.
  2. Observe and acknowledge if trust has been broken. Little things can continue to bubble up and eventually take on a larger life of its own. Help minimize it by talking about it.
  3. Be as transparent as possible without breaking confidentiality. Even if you do not know the full implications, or if a decision has not been finalized, staff still want to feel that they are in the know.
  4. Allow for courageous spaces to talk about difficult issues. People need to feel safe in order to have an honest two-way dialogue. Encourage it.
  5. Share some of the bad news with your staff.  According to Great Place to Work CEO Michael Bush, employees deal with difficult moments in their home lives that are even more challenging. Thus, they do not have to be shielded from workplace news.
  6. Consider all staff as equal partners. Seek opinions from all of your team members; each person is important to the success of the larger team.
  7. Act and speak with consistency. Contradictions create confusion, which can lead to distrust.
  8. Be open-minded. Your staff may have a different opinion or approach of how to handle a departmental challenge. Listen to their points of view that you may not be aware of. This will also show that you trust their opinion.
  9. Be clear on the road map when asking for feedback. Sometimes staff may think that their feedback will lead to immediate implementation on their thoughts. This may or may not happen. Be clear on what you will do with the feedback afterwards.
  10. Practice giftwork and offer help. Demonstrate behaviors that are based on relationship building and caring, versus having the majority of your interactions with staff be transactional. 

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