When most people think of business organizations, they likely think of them in terms producing or offering products and services. But organizations also have obligations to the people that they employ beyond pay and benefits, especially if those organizations wish to maintain employee satisfaction, a key component in organizational success. One way in which an organization can maintain employee satisfaction is to cultivate a culture which encourages and fosters learning, creating learning communities. A leader who wishes to foster a learning community-focused culture in their organization should model enthusiasm for and pursuit of learning opportunities and offering subordinates opportunities to pursue learning opportunities and supporting those efforts.
After reading Bennis’ (2008) article on leadership transparency, I recalled an English teacher I had in high school. Teachers are leaders and have similar responsibilities to leaders in organizational environments. This teacher was open and honest, words Bennis uses several times throughout the article. When he was having a bad day, he was open about it. This was a positive thing; it reminded us that nobody is perfect. He was also quite honest; if he hadn’t graded our papers when he said he would, he would tell us that, without offering excuses. This showed that he took responsibility for his actions, which I think is an important behavior that leaders should model. Bennis (2008) also talks about the benefits of “challenging the dominant assumptions” through the use of easily accessible knowledge and information (p. 19). My teacher encouraged us all to not be afraid to disagree with his interpretation of a text. Transparent leaders cannot hide information or assert their own will on their subordinates; transparent leaders must be willing to hear feedback and respond to it in an obvious way which shows they not only listened but also meaningfully responded to that feedback.

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  • Bennis, W. (2008). Transparent leaders: Be open and honest about your dealings. Leadership Excellence, 25(7), 19.