Beware the transparent manager

Managers who choose to avoid taking a stance and let someone else take the blame for a problem are “transparent”. Transparent managers can cause severe damage to an organization including low morale, poor client service, and failed projects.

We have all seen them at work. They are the managers who blame their employees for client problems, they point to the company when cost cuts have to be made, and they rarely take credit for something unless it’s positive. In fact, they often like to take all the credit for any success that’s achieved.

Transparent managers are unfortunately very common and exist in almost every organization. They tell you what they think you want to hear and point elsewhere when there is a problem rather than stepping up and taking responsibility, then dealing with the issue head on.

Transparency undermines your team, your organization, and your company. When you see it happening, try to help the manager in question by addressing the issue (in private preferably) and make the manager aware of the negative impact that transparency has. Ultimately, the biggest loser will be the transparent manager unless he/she recognizes and changes the behavior, , , and in many cases the manager may not realize it.

How do you avoid being a transparent manager?

  • Take the hit for a problem rather than blaming an employee.
  • Do your homework to understand a company’s decision and reinforce the reasons and benefits of the decision. Take personal responsibility for helping implement the decision as positively as possible.
  • Always give your staff credit for “wins” and take the blame for “failures” as the manager, , , this is a  “management basic”. Coach and critique your staff for improvements one-on-one and behind closed doors.
  • Recognize transparent action and coach others on “stepping up” to issues rather than pushing them off to others or pointing fingers.

The issue comes down to the fact that most of us do not like confrontation. Unfortunately, “passing the buck” does more damage and can have long term consequences, , , mostly negative. You gain much more respect by dealing with the issue and taking responsibility, and you lose credibility when you don’t.

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