How transparency at work can boost your career
The term “transparency” gets thrown around a lot these days — from people demanding a transparent government to consumers wanting transparency from companies whose goods and services they buy.
But what does it mean at work?
“Being transparent in a professional setting means to be honest and up front about your skills and interests and about what you can do for your company,” says Antonio Vianna, a human resource consultant and online instructor in the University of Phoenix MBA program.
Here are five ways to be transparent on the job:
Know your capabilities.
Be straightforward with your employer about what you bring to the table, Vianna says. Don’t volunteer for a job that’s beyond your capabilities, for instance, but don’t hide a talent you have, either, even if you’re not using it in your current job.
If you’re not forthcoming about what you can and can’t do, he notes, the company won’t be able to use you to its — and your — best advantage.
Show how you can help.
If you have ideas about how company operations or your performance can improve, don’t keep them to yourself. Tell your boss, Vianna says, which will let your supervisor know that you’re thinking about how to be as effective as possible.
“Say you’re working in the finance department as an analyst, but you’re interested in knowing how the sales department operates,” Vianna explains. “It’s appropriate for you to say, ‘I’d like to shadow the sales department for the day because I’m in the process of analyzing sales data, and I think this would be helpful for me.’”
Tell your boss what motivates you.
Your employer may not have the budget to give you a raise, but if you’re honest about the kind of non-monetary incentives that inspire you, Vianna says, your manager may be able to provide the ones that are important to your job satisfaction.
Perhaps occasionally you’d like to attend an event at your child’s school, or you need to work 7 am – 3 pm one day a week; if you make your desires clear and are doing a good job, Vianna points outs, you’ll have a better chance of getting something you really want when your boss considers rewards.
Express your satisfaction.
If you’re well-suited to a particular task or find you like the challenge of a specific assignment, let your supervisor know. By emphasizing what you enjoy, your manager will have a better idea of the kind of work to give you in the future. This is a win-win for the company, Vianna notes, because happy employees generally are more productive.
Take credit where it’s due.
“To the best of your ability, make sure that the higher-ups know what work you’re doing versus what other people are doing, so that you get credit for what you do, and you don’t take undue credit or get blamed for someone else’s mistakes,” advises Lynne Timmerman Fees, an attorney and an online instructor in the MBA program.
When managers know which employees have taken on the bulk of the work, the company is in a better position to reward and promote those who deserve it the most. “And that transparency,” Fees says, “is going to benefit the company in the long run.”