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The importance of leadership transparency and accountability in a hybrid and distributed workplace 1

The importance of leadership transparency and accountability in a hybrid and distributed workplace

The time of in-person office is on its way out. As over 61% of people do not want to return to offices and want to work remotely, it is evident that hybrid and distributed ways of work define the future of the workplace. Companies that embrace the hybrid and distributed work environments provide a more fulfilling experience for current and prospective employees.

There is an urgent need to rethink approaching culture and connection in a hybrid and distributed workplace. The findings of this study indicate that 77% of respondents say they have experienced employee burnout at their current job, with more than half citing more than one occurrence. There are many more similar studies which show that employees experienced burnout due to work ever since the lockdown; there exists a severe need to change how things are being done. A distributed workplace requires a mindful culture to keep employees from feeling burnout or a sense  of loneliness.

It is essential to bring transparency and accountability in leadership for the best working environment.

What does leadership transparency in the workplace mean?

Transparency in leadership in a hybrid and distributed workplace means involving employees in the decision-making process, sharing the good and the bad, and generally keeping them in the loop of everything that’s happening in the organization. It’s quite easy for employees to start to feel disconnected as they no longer come to a central place to work. Another key aspect is to welcome honest feedback about leadership and decision-making.

While a distributed workplace is now a priority for employees, it can result in isolation unless you step up and encourage involvement among team members. In a team with transparency in leadership, there are no unpleasant surprises, no uncertainties, or feeble behavior that might make the leader look weak. The most transparent leaders practice what they preach, set clear goals, and communicate effectively.

Accountability is another required quality in leadership, which is especially important in a hybrid and distributed work environment. If you expect your employees to be honest and open with the work and how they conduct themselves in a distributed workplace, they must see you do the same.

How does transparency and accountability help?

A transparent and accountable leader is someone to look up to. They will be in a better position to earn an employee’s loyalty and trust, without much effort. However, the benefits of this leadership style are aplenty.

Encourages openness and collaboration

According to a Microsoft Work Trend Report, 9 to 5 work culture is fast disappearing, and employees want more flexibility in their work schedules. What started as a pandemic-induced work culture shift has become the new normal. As teams have experienced the freedom of flexibility and seen how much more productive they are, it’s more appealing to them.

Creating a hybrid and distributed work culture that is opposed to a 9 to 5 routine means enabling work that fits around the life of employees, whether it’s dropping kids to school, picking up essentials, or working out. The new work culture is asynchronous, requiring more focus time for deep work.  Companies with a distributed workforce have employees working in different time zones. Adopting an asynchronous work model improves collaboration in real-time, allowing employees to attend meetings and avoid late-night calls. It also helps increase productivity.

Problem-solving and collaboration become more efficient when there is default transparency in the work environment; teammates are on the same page and can work unhindered with all the necessary resources available to them.

Promotes a greater employer brand

When you successfully integrate transparency and accountability in leadership, you build a strong employer brand. An essential part of being transparent with employees is to invite their honest feedback. It is easy for misunderstandings to occur in a distributed workforce or for discontent to build. When you let employees share their feedback honestly, you make them feel valued. It is also a way to show your employees that you value their opinions and contributions, building trust and loyalty.

It is not uncommon to see resentment among employees towards leaders who don’t show interest, or who do not value an employee’s time and thoughts. When you show appreciation, and when you recognize their efforts, you make them feel valued. It is because of the employees that an organization can do well. Let them know. Transparency in leadership implies you are not just a mysterious boss tucked away in some corporate office but also an actual human being. Present yourself as someone willing to understand and support his employees.

When you develop a personal connection with them, your employees are more open to accepting constructive feedback, and willing to make the necessary changes to benefit the organization and its objectives.

Leading by example

If you think that traditional command-and-control management will serve you in a hybrid and distributed workplace, you are in for a bit of a surprise. In such a work environment, you are isolated from your team, and hoarding all information to make decisions individually that affect the whole team will damage morale and reduce agility.

Remember your aim is to bring in accountability and transparency, which is why you should look for opportunities to democratize decision-making. When you keep employees in the loop, you create an open culture in which every employee is aware and confident about their duties, and there is no uncertainty. This will make everyone feel part of the team, and the efficiency and productivity of the team will increase. When you create an openness for communication, the risk of information overload becomes a threat. Here, tools like Slack come in handy to control information flow such that people get information that is relevant to them, not the whole conversation of the entire team.

Transparency in leadership requires leading by example. It is not the era to communicate once a month via email. Today, you actively communicate with employees via video meetings and live feedback to foster an inclusive culture. Some of the most outstanding CEOs allow people to drop in a message directly to follow up. The top leadership has widely encouraged open communication with distributed teams through Slack in the past year. Employees have shown enthusiastic responses, sharing over 11 million messages on Slack in the past year.

Enables faster problem solving

Leaderships’ primary goal is to encourage problem-solving, smooth workflow, and help employees improve their skill set.

With accountability and transparency, employees can be brought together. One of the most significant advantages of a distributed workforce is diversity. People with diverse cultural backgrounds working together solve problems faster. As a team leader, you might get instructions from the management to handle things differently or deliver on goals. Be transparent with them rather than keeping this information to yourself and putting pressure on your subordinates. Tell them the end goals you need to meet as a team and how they will affect the whole team.

Such transparency will encourage the entire team to work together to achieve common goals and solve problems faster.

For hybrid and distributed workplaces, the traditional leadership qualities simply don’t cut it. There is an unprecedented need for transparency and accountability in leadership. For more on how you can manage a globally distributed workforce, set up a free consultation today.

Monica Jamwal

Monica Jamwal

Monica Jamwal is the Managing Director of Talent Solutions at Talent500. She has over 19 years’ experience across talent consulting, talent acquisition, process design, talent branding and recruitment operations. In addition, she has strong experience at strategizing, designing, implementing and delivering large scale green field recruitment projects in the areas of financial services and technology.

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