In this last episode of the leadership principles Colonel Derek Lane of the US Marine Corps shared during a one-hour webinar hosted by Gravy, we are going to focus on the perspective: transparency creates successors.
I’m telling you, this one-hour webinar was gold. As you can tell, this is the fourth episode I have done on the details they shared. But I just couldn’t help myself. When you have principles that resonate with you as a leader, you just have to share them. So here we are, on episode number four.
Colonel Lane said that he believes in transparency. He is transparent with his team about his decisions and methodologies simply because he is the one setting the goals.
It’s like I consistently say, success at work should be an open-book test. Everyone wants to deliver to expectations, if not exceed them. If you aren’t sharing what the expectations are and how you came up with them, how can anyone on your team be successful?
Lane went on to also say that his role is to create successors and that being transparent is how they learn from him. Again, another point I wholeheartedly agree with. Transparency creates successors.
When I am coaching female business leaders specifically on leadership development, one of the pathways I encourage is shadowing. Shadowing is allowing a direct report, or someone you are developing to take over a set of responsibilities, to follow you around, listen to your meetings and calls, and truly see you in action. This is supercritical. While we all believe we can “tell someone” how to perform well in a role, it truly is impactful to allow someone to observe you performing the functions well. They will pick up so many nuances of your leadership that they would otherwise miss. How you say something, how you make decisions, the questions you ask, how you prepare a room, how you manage a room, etc. All of these pieces are aspects you can’t fully teach unless you allow someone to see it happen.
By being fully transparent about your day-to-day, your successor will have insight on how to perform the job similar to how you currently perform it. Remember that while “our way” isn’t the only way, when someone doesn’t have “a way” our way is the best way. So if you are creating a successor and they have never had to have a leadership conversation, host a meeting, or lead a team in the way you are training them, they will adopt your way because it’s the only way they know. This has its benefits to you when you are continuing to build trust in them as you get closer and closer to allowing them to take on more responsibility in your organization.
Transparency creates successors. Today I want you to reflect on how transparent you are with your team, your direct reports, and your overall organization. Are you helping them understand how you think, make decisions, establish goals, and define what success looks like? Have you found someone you can develop to be your successor?