Magazine article People & Strategy

Expectations of Candor and Transparency

Magazine article People & Strategy

Expectations of Candor and Transparency

Article excerpt

For anyone in the United States contemplating who they want to lead the nation, candor and transparency have become key attributes within our candidate evaluation. We ask ourselves, as does the media, who among the candidates can be trusted and how much; what substance lies behind the candor, and do we believe future actions will match today's words? Too little transparency leads to concern about some underlying agenda; too much candor is associated with a shoot-from-the-hip temperament, and pop assessments of being narcissistic or unhinged.

None of this is new to those of us steeped in leadership assessment, development, and succession planning. Our profession has a rich history of carefully looking at leaders, the situations they encounter, and how they respond when the opportunity to do so arises. Many of us have assessed candor and transparency among potential leaders, while others have actively coached executives and developed programs to drive productive candor according to the situation at hand.

Our concern for candor and transparency isn't limited to individuals; we look for this at an organizational level as well. Whatever you may think of the Consumer Financial Protection Board, its rise was partially due to a call for more transparency between financial organizations and their customers. The last time you purchased an automobile, you likely searched at least one website featuring transparency of pricing and fees. We may begin to think of candor and transparency as individual attributes, but quickly extend that to assess the credibility of organizations around us. …

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