Transparency Can Make Life and Business Much Easier for Entrepreneurs The less you try to hide the less energy you waste trying to hide it.
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I'm an entrepreneur day trader and teacher, and through my work I am fortunate to have become a self-made millionaire. But I'm quick to admit that I'm far from perfect. This is easy enough for anyone to see, since I publicly post my trading track record: I have a roughly 70 percent win rate rather than 100 percent.
Why be so honest, when I could just let people believe that I live a charmed life? Because I believe that transparency is important for entrepreneurs. In my case, it helps me connect with others and it allows me to keep growing. It also gives me permission to be human.
No matter what field you're in, openness and honesty are very beneficial to your career. Here are just a few of the benefits of transparency for entrepreneurs:
You've heard the saying that "honesty is the best policy," right? Turns out, this is true in both life and business. When you're transparent as an entrepreneur, you never have to worry about what you share with one person versus another. You also don't need to worry about misinterpretation or speculation on the part of others, because things are out in the open.
If you're not totally transparent, you'll probably constantly find yourself editing yourself based on who you speak to, which can get tiresome and confusing. Being transparent as an entrepreneur makes things simpler, which makes your life a lot easier.
As an entrepreneur, relationships are extremely important. Transparency can be a powerful trust builder, which means that you'll be able to forge stronger connections.
For example, say that you have a business with employees. If they feel that you are not transparent with them, they will be less likely to put their full trust in you or the company. This can lead to a culture of fear and/or distrust, which is basically a breeding ground for discontent and gossip rather than excellent performance.
This idea holds true even for solo entrepreneurs. If you're completely transparent with colleagues and collaborators, they are more likely to put their trust in you. More often than not, this leads to more productive collaboration and performance by all parties involved.
You won't burn bridges.
Where transparency can build trust, a lack of transparency can destroy it. If you're not completely honest and transparent, it can have long-lasting negative effects on your career.
For instance, if you frequently omit, edit or withhold information, it can leave a bad impression on colleagues, collaborators, and/or employees. As time goes by, this can create a mounting list of people who don't enjoy working with you.
Why burn bridges? Sooner or later, a lack of transparency can catch up with you and keep you from moving forward in your career. Being transparent can be challenging at times, but the long term benefits are worthwhile.
When you're transparent as an entrepreneur, you're more likely to engage in meaningful ways with others.
Here's an example. Say that you're completely honest about a problem that you are having with your company, and you share this with your community, be it employees, colleagues, or even a mentor. Often enough, other people will appreciate your candor. It shows that you are human, and it acts as an invitation for engagement. You may find that people are more willing to come to your support and even offer potential solutions as a result of your honesty.
By connecting with others on a very real level, you'll form more of a bond and have better engagement with your community. This is extremely important for your long-term career growth.
Related: Your Employees Want Transparency. Here's How to Give It to Them.
Transparency can help you maintain integrity in your business dealings. Say, for example, that you are approached about a potential partnership but you know of a potential conflict. If you decide not to share the potential conflict and it comes out later on, it will create bad feelings and distrust.
True, if you're open about the conflict with the other party, it may mean that you both decide to decline the partnership. But it could also lead to both of you collaborating and finding a mutually beneficial solution or alternative type of partnership. Either way, when you're transparent, you're far more likely to maintain a sense of integrity during business dealings. Integrity is a successful trait that can help you get ahead in the long run.
Inspire others to do the same.
When it comes to business culture, the adage that you get what you give holds true. This means that if you are transparent, it inspires others to be transparent as well.
No, it might not be an instantly reciprocal thing, and it's not necessarily something that you should expect. However, if you continue to be transparent over time, it's bound to rub off on others! This can have powerful ripple effects that benefit not just you but the economy at large.