Podcast 51: Transformational Leadership Traits, Transparency

Podcast Transcription

Effective leaders are not always right. They ensure that leaders on their teams are. Leading is empowering others. – Hugh Ballou


As leaders, we follow what we have been taught by habit, and mostly out of ignorance of what else to do. We respect those who have impacted our lives, unintentionally feeling obligated to do so. In my case, it’s a part of that inherited behavior of desiring to please others, whether it’s the right decision for me or not.

Being transparent means being vulnerable in many instances. If we are insecure about anything, then being transparent and vulnerable is a challenge.

There is a sense of false security in being autocratic, in that we control the flow of information, make the decisions, manage how things happen, and lead by the influence of power and, now, personal influence.

It’s far more difficult to lead collaboratively than authoritatively. So, why change?

Being transparent fosters energy in any group and allows others to own the outcomes and to establish peer-to-peer accountability. Transparency is, in fact, a primary leadership skill.

Transparency is a valuable leadership skill:

  1. To build trust: This is aligned with the Transformational Leadership trait of authenticity. Being authentic includes being transparent, if you adopt this style of leadership. Team members can trust a leader who doesn’t pretend to be something that he or she isn’t. This trust allows for relationships to grow organically, like ensemble happens with intentionality in musical groups. The leader must guide and nurture that process, but not control it. The musical conductor guides the process and allows space for others to function up.
  2. To focus on relationships: Insecure and autocratic leaders are focused on themselves and not on others. When leaders pay attention to team members and constantly work on relationship, it’s apparent and brings energy to the team. Reversing this paradigm allows the leader to have the bandwidth to pay attention to what others are doing, how they function, and to observe behaviors.
  3. To reframe influence: The leader who leads from the position of power and authority (I’m the Chairman and I make decisions) stifles group thinking, sidetracks creative collaboration, and intimidates others. We reframe from “Push” to “Pull” leadership.
  4. To encourage collaboration: If the leader has all the answers, then there’s no reason for others to participate. Transparency is knowing and sharing the truth, which is that you don’t have all the right answers. Rather than always being right, ensure that the team is always right, or that they learn from mistakes so that their competency is constantly growing.
  5. To foster authenticity: The last, and most impactful Transformational Leadership trait is to model what you preach. Being authentic means showing how to be authentic. When you don’t know, share that with the team. Nobody can have all the right answers. Model this trait and it will impact how others respond to you and other team members.

This is certainly not a comprehensive treatment of the topic. It’s intended to stimulate thinking and inspire a new paradigm for leading.

Do you agree?


Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2015 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.


Hugh Ballou (Author)