Leadership is not just a skill to be mastered, but also an art to be explored. Leadership is the art of mobilizing others to want to struggle for shared aspiration (Kouzes and Posner, 2012). In order to properly administer leadership in an effective way leaders must be proficient in their ability to nurture trust among followers. Leaders who are able to develop trust among followers inspire confidence because they can be trusted to do what they say they are going to do; trustworthy leaders reveal themselves to be loyal, dependable, and not deceptive, making a leader believable and worthy to be followed (Northouse, 2013). One important element of being trustworthy is being transparent to insure integrity of the leader (Northouse, 2013).
Transparency in leadership is vital to build trust as a leader, and is primarily driven by communication providing people with the opportunity to get the facts straight without emotional uncertainty (Crumpton, 2011). Five behaviors vital for leaders to exhibit in order to insure transparency are: 1) repeat strategy often, reminding people of goals, 2) hear concerns expressed and allow for input from affected parties, 3) isolate individual concerns in order to diminish effects of negative concerns among the group, 4) separate facts from fiction exposing untruths from speculation and negative biases, and 5) own up to bad news to build trust rather than cover up mistakes and encourage uncertainty (Lopez, 2009).
Another key to transparency is for leaders to have opinions on their area of expertise (Crumpton, 2011). This is vital because leaders are expected to not simply pass along information, but they are expected to have knowledgeable opinions and some expertise about the challenges and issues being faced (Crumpton, 2011). Such transparency creates deep trust, which may be the most vital important tool as a leadership artist.
Crumpton, M. A. (2011). The value of transparency. The Bottom Line, 24(2), 125–128. http://doi.org/10.1108/08880451111169188
Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2012). The leadership challenge: how to make extraordinary things happen in organizations (5th ed). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Lopez, L. (2009). Change Agents: Motivate to Achineve Results. Leadership Excellence, pp. 17–18.
Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: theory and practice (6th ed). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.