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Give transparency in small doses

When you’re honest about your struggles, it will connect you with some people.

But it will surprise and confuse others.

To them, your honesty might be seen as a lack of confidence, lack of skills, or lack of motivation — an admission of failure, or of giving up, or giving in.

This is because transparency is shocking and uncomfortable, especially from those at the top.

It’s a bit to close for comfort – a bit too raw and real.

It’s so uncommon that it can be scary for those receiving it, and easy to jump to conclusions about what it means.

We figure if the leader isn’t 100% confident in themselves, how can we be confident in them?

Except… anyone who IS 100% confident in themselves isn’t someone you’d want to work for, right?

That’s what ‘transparency’ means – taking off the mask, and showing who you really are.

Admitting when you’re wrong, looking for new answers, and asking lots of questions.

It takes courage to be transparent, and wisdom to know when to use it.

Transparency’s a powerful tool, but it’s impossible to know the effects it will have on others.

So, ask yourself:

  • Whose needs are you meeting with your transparency?
  • How can you clarify to others what your transparency does, and does not, mean?
  • How much transparency is too much? Not enough?
  • How can you find out what it’s like for your team when you’re transparent?

It’s strong medicine, so begin with small doses, watch for the effects, and adjust accordingly.

Take care,


If you want to learn how to use your “transparency tools” well, my Software Leader Seminar will help. It starts in January, and seating is limited.

About Marcus Blankenship

Where other technical coaches focus on process or tools, I focus on the human aspects of your Programmer to Manager transition. I help you hire the right people, create the right culture, and setup the right process which achieves your goals. Managing your team isn't something you learned in college. In fact, my clients often tell me "I never prepared for this role, I always focused on doing the work". If you're ready to improve your leadership, process and team, find out how I can help you.

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