A leader is the cultural liaison in any organization. Building trust in the workforce is crucial to organizational goals and success. Continual communication and transparency are key to successful workforce development.


Remember when you were little and mom told you not to go outside without a coat in the cold? Sometimes we would ask why, only to receive the proverbial response – “Because I Said So”. Remember how that made you feel? No one likes being told what to do and a paycheck is not a justification for authoritarian leadership.


Great leaders understand the importance of transparency. Imagine in the example above if the conversation went this way:

  • Science has proven that exposure to cold elements increases the probability that you will be sick, thus ruining your ability to play.
  • The average doctor’s visit has a copay of $50.00 and mommy doesn’t have extra money to take you to the doctor.

Applied in a work environment taking the extra time to be “transparent” is never easy. We have a lot of work to do and timelines are always the enemy. The extra seconds to explain the “why” for the decision we make builds trust with the workforce.


This type of dialog often leads to discovering opportunities for improvement.  Imagine, after understanding mommy’s reasoning – you suggested adding a face mask or coveralls to further ensure keeping warm.


Most leaders go in with the best intentions on being transparent. The confusion often comes with what to share and the level of detail. Generally, keep it high level. If more detail is requested, share a reference resource. Additionally, challenge upper management on what can be shared. Think about this: nearly everyone has a bank account and deals with cash in one form or another. In fact, cash is kind of a universal language. Why then do we not discuss financial information with the greater workforce? Would it not be more meaningful to illustrate the ‘true’ cost of scrap or the true cost of capital in buying a new machine vs. implementing an effective PM system to keep the existing equipment in top working order? In the end, share as much as you possibly can and engage at every level.


Great leaders know that workforce alignment starts with communication. Opportunities for communication include:

  • During Gemba walks – “stop and smell the roses”
  • Shift Meetings – “be the leader who shows up on all shifts from time to time”
  • Monthly/Quarterly One On One – “take a group of employees to lunch”
  • Plant Meetings – “schedule as often as you can”
  • Communication Objectives – “make it part of your staff’s measurable objectives”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>