Strong relationships can’t be maintained without transparency and integrity. Even though we may be comfortable opening up to others or we may share common goals and values, if we don’t understand others’ motives or if we don’t believe they’re telling the truth, then the relationship can only go so far. Acting with integrity is essential if we want to create trusting relationships, but when there is a lack of transparency, it becomes more difficult.
No hidden agendas
Being transparent means there are no hidden agendas – we are available, open and honest. A hidden agenda is a form of deception. Even if the motives behind it are honourable (think surprise party planning), it still shows others that we have the capacity to lie and be deceiving. Usually however, a hidden agenda means there is some kind of personal benefit which is hoped to be gained without anyone’s knowledge. Acting with alternative or inauthentic motives (whether at home or in the workplace) can not only harm relationships, but also harm reputations.
We should always strive to look inwardly and ask ourselves what our motives are before we act. If we aren’t sure if they are honest or ethical, the best we can do is to ‘come clean’ in order to gain the trust of others.
Live life as if everyone is watching
We all need a certain amount of privacy and introspection in our lives, and it’s always good to have boundaries. We don’t need to share our every thought, desire or difficult experience, that’s for certain. We should however, live our lives with integrity and do things knowing that at any moment, someone could be watching. This includes owning up to mistakes early, and openly. For example, if you know you won’t make a big deadline at work, the best thing to do is to tell others immediately so they can either support you or rearrange things to best accommodate the situation. By waiting until after the deadline has passed, it will cause more work and headaches for others, and they may not have much trust in you the next time. The old saying that “prevention is 9/10ths the cure” holds true in this situation; we can prevent so many problems by being open, honest and transparent up front instead of doing damage control afterwards.
Before cell phones and social media dominated our culture, there was a time when we had more privacy, but that’s not the case these days. So much of what we say, do, e-mail or post is wide open and available for all to see, even when we think it’s not. When we act with integrity and authenticity however, we have nothing to worry about.
Transparency inspires trust
We all have faults, worries and insecurities, so there’s no need to pretend we are something we are not. In many cases, people who aren’t transparent or truthful often lack self-esteem which is why they may lie, embellish stories or shift loyalties on a dime; they just want to be liked. For others, they may be more secretive or dishonest because that’s how they’ve been raised; that behaviour was modelled for them. Although it’s not up to us to understand everyone’s motives, hardships or emotions, what’s important is that we show compassion and personal integrity, even when others aren’t.
When we consistently act truthfully and transparently, we gain more than others’ trust; we gain respect, commitment and lasting, supportive relationships. Trust me.
“You have to be transparent so you no longer cast a shadow but instead let the light pass through you.” ― Kamand Kojouri