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Transparency in leadership

Many times when the media interviews a CEO, the article is full of canned responses. So when a leader breaks that trend, it is always an interesting read.

Recently the CEO of Blackberry’s maker Research In Motion Mike Lazaridis expressed his frustration to the press in regards to the public perception of his company.

Here is his quote to the New York Times:

“Why is it that people don’t appreciate our profits? Why is it that people don’t appreciate our growth? … I don’t fully understand why there’s this negative sentiment, and I just don’t have time to battle it. Because in the end, what I’ve learned is you’ve just got to prove it over and over.”

Mike is a bit of a complainer, but it is obvious he is displeased with his company’s image and doesn’t want to stay quiet about it.

I read a critique of Mike’s interview on a blog and the blogger stated Mike made a mistake when he expressed those views to the media, and that Mike probably hurt the company’s image even more.

On the flip side, another blogger applauded Mike as a “transparent, real CEO who shoots from the hip”.

Even if people don’t like or agree with what he said, Mike is displaying a version of a transparent leadership style.

Transparent leadership includes clear communication, commitment to building relationships, and creating a candid workplace.

A transparent leader gains followers if they are perceived as trustworthy. These leaders make sure their message is consistent, and avoid saying different things to different audiences. They also consistently follow through on commitments.

I’m not recommending that all leaders express their frustrations to the media. However, Mike’s ‘tell it like he feels’ philosophy may have won him over some employees.

After I read the blog post that criticized Mike’s interview, I saw this comment:

“Mike is right. And, honest. Frankly, I agree with him. Perhaps I shouldn’t have stayed working there … :)”.

What are your thoughts about this outspoken interview?

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1 Comment

  • Karikalan says:

    Recently I read about “Googler ranting about Google”, it was an awesome mail with honestly rather than mulling around and soaping up the mistakes.

    I think that being transparent gives lots of confidence to everyone around to realise that they atleast know what they are missing and a confidence that they can improve going forward to see the growth.

    They are also let to focus on the core business than reading between the lines.