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It Couldn’t Be Clearer: Why Workplace Transparency is a Critical Leadership Responsibility

September 17, 2015 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

It seems that everyone is talking about workplace transparency. Fortune magazine recently shared this interesting article: The Real Reason Your Employees Quit, citing a lack of workplace transparency as the primary factor impacting employee engagement and ultimately, an employee’s decision to stay or go.

And, more recently, Mark Zuckerberg showcased Facebook’s “culture of transparency” by taking users on a virtual tour of its new offices, where 2,800 employees enjoy a massive open floor plan. But, the most interesting part of the tour might just be Zuckerberg’s desk, which looks just like everyone else’s, and is right there in the middle of it all. There are literally no walls, no barriers or administrative assistants separating Zuckerberg from the rest of the organization.

As he gives a tour of the conference room where he conducts most of his meetings, Zuckerberg makes this important point: “One of the things you’ll notice is that it’s all glass. We want to create this very open, transparent culture in our company, where everyone can see what everyone else is working on and people can walk by and see the kind of stuff that I’m working on, who Im meeting with and this enables this very open and transparent culture which enables us to do our best work,” he says.

In our Disney’s Approach to Leadership Excellence professional development course, we teach participants that there is an inherent interdependency between a leader’s personal values, and the organization’s values.

What we are seeing is that, much like Zuckerberg’s glass conference room, the writing on the wall couldn’t be clearer…today, employees have an expectation that their organizations’ leaders truly value and demonstrate workplace transparency. And, while good intentions and inspiring words can be a start – it takes this kind of observable action to truly move an organization. 

At Disney Institute, we believe that leaders must intentionally foster an environment where everyone has the freedom to communicate with anyone, and it must be safe for everyone to offer his or her own ideas. Where does this belief come from? Walt Disney once said; “Our heritage and ideals, our code and standards the things we live by and teach our children are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings.” He truly believed in and shared these same values with his leaders and the entire organization.

So, as leaders, lets create and nurture an environment where everyone can freely exchange ideas and feelings…even with the boss.

To learn more on this topic, check out:

Tell us – As a leader, what can you start doing differently to foster more transparency in your organization?


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Posted in Leadership Excellence | Tagged Leadership, Leadership Excellence, Workplace Transparency, Trust, Authentic Leadership, Employee Engagement, Culture, Bruce Jones


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