Workplace Transparency

Some might say it is trust, belief or something that rings like a good relationship between two or more people.

It has now been a few years since I have joined the workforce and I have had my share of experiences working with different companies in different sectors. The various months or years working have allowed me to observe common behaviours in the workplace. For example how quite a room gets all of a sudden when the boss walks in or how dead silent the office becomes on the days where the boss is in the office. This does not mean that the office should be as loud as a marketplace but there are certain shifts in behaviours such as whispering or barely moving around the office that is significantly noticeable.

This being said, I am certain that it is not all workplaces but these are common sightings around town and around different cultures I am sure. Recently I came across a workplace where the employees had little or close to no communication lines with the boss.

It felt as though they were scared to hold a conversation other than ‘Yes sir’/ ‘No sir’ and explanations or small talk are not only prohibited but almost frowned upon.

This made me wonder what kind of working environment it would be if employees are fearful of communicating with their bosses and also the kind of work that would be done. We have discussed multiple times the importance of communication but what is also communicated needs to be addressed.

Though omission is definitely not an untruth it can be quite harmful in the context of a working relationship as things will not advance as they should. Imagine ordering products for an event or giveaway items that are promised to be delivered on a certain date but arrive a couple of days later. Imagine having to call the supplier multiple times to get the same answers that they will arrive soon but never do. I bring this up because it is related to transparency, it is obvious that nothing can be done if the items can only be delivered on a certain date even later than the promised date and time. However, if the supplier informed you that there will be a delay for whatever reason then you could have planned accordingly.

It seems as though we have made it a habit of forcing untruths down people’s throats when eventually the truth will come out. I am sure this rings a bell for so many people because whenever we are grabbing drinks or coffee it is mostly our favourite topic to bring up. I believe that we are definitely capable of reaching a working relationship that is not one based on lies or fear.

I remember a supplier once telling me that he would rather under promise and over deliver which I thought was a great principle for running a business.

In that moment I hoped that we could all drive businesses with such principles as it would obviously ease tensions and get rid of work-related stress.This had us talking for a while and speculating about where a general lack of transparency comes from in our culture. We pointed out our hide and seek tendencies when it comes to revealing our personal lives to our parents as well as our relationship with friends.

I must admit that openness varies from one personality to another and everyone does not necessarily have to be an open book. However, openness outside of our personal lives, meaning in our professional lives should be mandatory. The aforementioned working environment made me realize it is important to appreciate workplaces that have a free spirit when it comes to hierarchical relationships. It made me notice how much longer employees tend to stick around and how happy they are with what they do, knowing that their contribution to the business is important.

On the other hand, there are work environments that see a significant number of turnover and an unhappiness among the employees. All of that being said, I would love to hear what your thoughts are on transparency and how you think we can do better in maintaining good working relationships.

By Christine Yohannes
Christine Yohannes writes about social change, performs at public events and conducts poetry workshops in schools. She has established a monthly event entitled "Poetic Saturdays" - a platform created to allow everyone the freedom of self-expression through art. She can be reached at

Published on Apr 01,2017 [ Vol 17 ,No 882]



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