The Field Guide to Leading Teams

03/26Transparency should reveal everything - not just what’s convenient.

Bad team leads avoid transparency because they’re afraid of what it will reveal. Good team leads are transparent by default because they understand the information will get out regardless over time.

Transparency within a team is essential to giving day-to-day work meaning and context. People want to understand how their contribution fits into the big picture and how you’re doing collectively. You’ve endeavored to hire the smartest people you can and smart people know when they’re in the dark every time.

This doesn’t mean airing out everything always. You need to keep personal issues shared with you in confidence at the highest level of secrecy. Also, your team can have internal shared secrets that it shields from the larger organization as a sort of trust glue. Your duty as a manager is to go between these two worlds of transparency and secrecy to both protect your team from undue influence but also gather the resources it needs to accomplish your shared mission together.

Your role as a manager also means you need to gather accurate information on the business as a whole, the industry, the competition, and all of the other forces that may change the material reality for your team.

They shouldn’t hear this information through the news or the watercooler before they hear it from you.

Best Practices

  • High-performing teams collaborate well because each team member understands what their teammates are doing. Transparency reduces duplicative efforts, promotes trust, and enables team members to jump in and help each other out when needed. It also means that the team can celebrate wins together.
  • Have conversations in the open, not in DMs or closed threads
  • Make sure everyone can see the reports in Status Hero