A lack of transparency has been a long-standing problem in leadership and workforce communication. Traditionally, the workforce has only been told what leadership thought they should know. A lack of transparency in workplace communications makes for a highly malfunctioning environment. It fuels rumors and fosters a lack of trust. This affects morale as well as productivity. As employees become disengaged, those who are considered the most valuable assets often head for the door.

If the workforce can’t be trusted with sensitive business information after having signed Non-Disclosure Agreements, there are serious issues of loyalty and trust. Leadership’s unwillingness to share pertinent information indicates a significant breakdown of internal relationships.

Workforce members are very intelligent. They will have no issue figuring out that something is going on. Workers spend more waking hours at work than they do anywhere else. They become familiar with the ebb and flow of the workplace environment. A lack of transparency from leadership causes trust issues. It is better to reveal the truth than to have your team members think that a situation is worse than it is. Lack of transparency sparks a decreased sense of job security and will drive even the best talent away.

Leadership must be brave enough to remain transparent in their communications, whether good or bad. This is a major way to earn their workforce’s trust. This can be achieved not only by celebrating the good news, but by also putting any bad news in the best positive light to help team members process the information. Leaders should never sugarcoat the situation and should be willing to provide what is needed to inspire their team despite the situation.

The higher the level of leadership is, the more important it is to keep communications transparent throughout their organization. Senior leaders set the tone for this. Withholding vital information from directors or mid-level management gives them the impression that it is acceptable for them to hide information from the workforce. All of this cultivates into a culture of distrust. Misinformation and rumors will run wild in this type of environment.

It is not easy for businesses and leaders to be transparent in communicating. However, workers appreciate and respect this type of transparency, even when the news is hard to swallow.