The Value of Transparency: Janet Jarnagin Explains Why Employees Should Disclose Important Details to Executive Management
Organizational transparency is one of the most valuable assets a company can have to sustain growth and integrity. When employees are transparent to management and vice versa, it is easier to communicate, fulfill each other’s needs, and collaborate for goals to make the company succeed.
However, not all employees desire to be transparent with their superiors. Several reasons may include the eagerness to please, not recognizing one’s responsibility, or even a personal agenda of making one’s performance look better than what it actually is. Suppose you are an employee who tends to leave out details in your role within an organization. In that case, corporate professional Janet Jarnagin explains some reasons why transparency should be your best option to succeed.
As a board and management reporting professional for many years, New York’s Janet Jarnagin recognizes the importance of having – and being in – all the details, starting from the responsibilities of entry-level workers up to management positions. In this post, you will discover some important benefits of achieving organizational transparency.
Disclosing Details Promotes Better Decision-Making
It can be tempting to share details that you think may impress your superiors in the corporate setting. A good performance, an increasing number of sales, or a successful project can be your golden ticket to promotion. Unfortunately, only focusing on the “good news” can impede the company’s decision-making skills.
When this is done, the organization’s blind spots become increasingly hard to see, which eventually compounds and hits everyone like a ton of bricks. Thus, it is important to disclose essential details to give a clearer insight into its room for improvement.
In the corporate setting, some details which employees usually leave out include:
Single client or customer complaints: A complaint by a single client does not mean everything, but it usually means something. If employees source information about a customer complaint, whether it has been recorded or not, sharing this feedback with superiors will help them gain insight and find opportunities to improve.
Infrastructure shortfalls: Executive management often requests more comprehensive data analysis, but do not understand the limitations in sourcing said data. Employees eager to meet or exceed expectations will often withhold these details and spend hours/days running reporting manually which can lead to burnout, not to mention data inaccuracies and errors. While it is important not to bog your leadership in details, it is critical that leadership is aware of system limitations so they know this is an area where they need to make investments.
Overhead expenses: During project execution or business trips, employees usually forget or intentionally withhold some overhead expenses. When done regularly, these types of spending can affect the company’s overall budget.
Industry insight: Some employees can glean information from the industry events they attend, publications they read, or people they talk with in similar roles. Anything that can help the company make better decision-making skills should ideally be disclosed.
Setting Realistic Expectations for Executives
As previously mentioned, only sharing the “good information” with your superiors will lead to poor decision-making and set up unrealistic expectations about what is possible. When employees share only the better parts of their work or a team’s performance, the management will be all smiles--but these praises come with a price to pay.
Janet Jarnagin explains that the risk you will take for not disclosing all details completely is that the management will set the bar higher based on your reported performance. You will have to keep at that unrealistic level, or even worse, try to outdo the output from the last reporting.
To keep your superiors’ expectations of you and your team genuinely realistic, it is essential to share both positive and negative details on your responsibilities. Following a guideline, a good starting place is the simple yet powerful Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (S.W.O.T) Analysis chart.
By objectively documenting Weaknesses and Threats in the same manner as you would Strengths and Opportunities, there is a balanced approach on how you would be able to set present and future goals.
Preventing Performance Burnout
Somewhat related to the previous point, nitpicking details to share with your employers and management team will also lead to performance burnout. Experiencing burnout is quite a risky place to be--it can turn something you’re passionate about into something you loathe.
Do not intentionally put yourself in a situation where you know it’s hard to meet expectations. As with any employee, work-life balance is key to total well-being. When you’re overworked, it isn't easy to perform well in your personal and professional endeavors.
Some practices that can help in preventing burnout include:
Delegating tasks for responsibilities that are not within your line of work: Some employees tend to overdo tasks because they think it makes the process easier. Unfortunately, repeatedly doing this disempowers those who need to fulfill their roles. To prevent heavy burdens at work, one must learn to trust and delegate tasks.
Being open about areas of difficulties: Is there a particular area in your role that is hard to balance or fulfill? Share this concern with your management in a non-accusative manner, and collaborate with a solution.
Fulfill your tasks as expected: There are moments where you can go the extra mile, but doing this too much can set you up for eventual burnout. If you are feeling overworked, chances are you just need to fulfill tasks as expected and cut away the “extras” which are not required at the moment.
Transparency Leads to Success
With the points mentioned by Janet Jarnagin, it is easy to understand how organizational transparency ultimately leads to success. Not only does it promote genuine corporate growth, but it also protects and sustains the workers who build the company.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or the management of EconoTimes