When you ask most employees what they value most about the company they work for, transparency in their leadership is one of the most important things to people. Transparency in leadership essentially means keeping your employees informed and in the know. This doesn’t mean you have to overshare and release every sensitive little detail, but simple open communication with an openness towards honest feedback from your team.

The key to identifying a transparent leader is noticing a few cues. A transparent leader will always keep their employees in the loop. There won’t be any unpleasant surprises or wishy-washy attitudes. You’ll have a clear direction on tasks and what is expected of you. Lastly, transparent leaders will usually have an open line of communication with their employees. This can be in the form of an open-door policy, or some way to have two-way communication, be it asking for questions or clarification on the performance of employees, or suggestions and feedback for the leader.

If you are in a leadership position yourself, you might feel somewhat vulnerable when being more transparent. You’ll have your employees watching and judging your actions. It can get uncomfortable, especially if you’re not used to being open. Yes, you’ll be held to higher standards of integrity as a leader, but by keeping to these higher standards you will provide an excellent example for your employees to strive towards, and the rest of your business will follow suit.

Transparency in leadership leads to more trusting employees, meaning they’ll be more loyal to you and your business. In turn, loyal employees are generally more inclined to go above and beyond in their duties, and your business will have a higher retention rate. Lastly, this transparency will have a positive effect on the entire corporate culture if you let it, eventually shaping the core values that drive your business.

Transparency doesn’t only help your employees, though. Transparent leadership can go a long way in consumer trust as well. By applying the same principles to your customer base, it can significantly increase brand loyalty and improve customer acquisition, and retention since being open about your business practices and plans for the future will help keep your business integrity in check as well.