I was an 18 year old student in college when I received the instruction that leaders should not be too open with the people they lead. We were instructed to keep a safe, professional distance.
From the time I heard those words, I struggled with that concept. I wanted to believe and accept this concept since it came from my teacher, but I was not certain.
The Bible portrays maturity and unity as the benefits of a transparent attitude (Eph 4:15). As people develop and grow, they are to be guided by love to live lives that are transparent.
Contrary to what I learned, here is how transparency helps us in our leadership:
Transparency Earns Respect
Transparent leaders are by nature people of integrity. People want to follow leaders who have integrity as their focal character. Such attitudes will earn genuine respect from people.
Transparency Allows for Flexibility
As a transparent person, you have the freedom to be who you are. This allows you much more flexibility. Otherwise, you’ll have to try to live up to expectations that are not a part of reality.
Once you have the freedom to be flexible, your options are unlimited. You can try new things and move into new and uncomfortable situations. When you begin to push your limits, you grow and expand much beyond what you can imagine.
Transparency Requires Accountability
There is no other option for a transparent person than to be accountable. A person who is not transparent does not need to be accountable. Such a person can hide behind the guise of the image created for the public.
Transparency Brings Unity
When leaders take on the character of transparency, they contribute greatly to the unity of the group. People begin to develop genuine relationships. Those genuine relationships lead to unity that is deeper than just organizational unity.
Transparency Breeds Transparency
As any good trait, this one will also spread to others. Being transparent will influence others to be transparent, and those who refuse to be transparent will pull away.
Transparency Glorifies God
Finally, transparent leaders can bring glory to God. Their transparency requires them to be truly focused on God who is the source of all that we have and are.
When the disciples asked Jesus to show them the Father, Jesus told them that if they saw Jesus, they have seen the father. Nothing to hide, nothing more to reveal. Jesus revealed the Father to us in himself.
In a similar way, we reveal God to those around us as we are genuine and transparent with others.