“We have a transparent organization.” What CEO would argue against that? In fact, most successful companies claim to be-or have a goal to be—transparent. But transparency is all in the way you look at something, and everyone has a different perception of transparency. Organizations that want to strive for transparency have to be aware of the ways people react to transparency.

Yesterday, Promotional Consultant Today shared how transparency affects an organization’s culture and values. Today we look at transparency related to career opportunities and the success of senior leadership.

Transparency and Career Opportunities. Consider the silent pluggers. Every workplace has them—those who quietly do their job, day after day, and they’re good at it. Perhaps they want to know that they can keep doing what they are doing, earning a little more over time. To them, a bump up to supervisor may be the worst possible outcome. Promotion is a reward for some, but a punishment for others. If the corporate window on advancement is opaque, the silent pluggers may not be doing their best work in hopes of being passed over.

Promotion may also be a tangible demonstration of a person’s value. It’s hard to argue that your work is valued if the company gives you more money and responsibility. If this validation can only come through career advancement, then they probably aren’t experiencing workplace transparency when it comes to day-to-day job performance.

Given that salaries are typically closely guarded by the company and workers alike, it’s likely that, in the opaque workplace, there are those who are consumed with the idea that others are making more for similar or less effort. A promotion or a raise is the only way they can calm the inner voices against the thought that they are being ripped off.

You can’t make salaries transparent—can you? Well, the military does it. Public institutions such as universities and government agencies at all levels publish salary information. We all know how much the President makes. With access through the internet to job listings across the country or even around the world, it’s never been easier for a worker to establish his market value. But remember, money is only number five on the list of motivators. It’s not that workers want to be paid the most. Workers want to be paid fairly.

Transparency and Senior Leadership. You’ve probably heard the glib catch phrase: “People don’t quit their jobs. They quit their bosses.”

Examine your own job history to see if it’s true for you. What makes up a good boss is different for everyone. Despite the definitions, there are leaders who are accepted as superior, so there are overlaps of perception. Reviewing the basic definition of a manager, we are reminded, “A manager is a person whose work is completed through the efforts of others.”

Your workers are completing your essential work. You probably know how they tick as a group and, in some cases, as individuals. You’re likely contemplating the concept of transparency to help your people work better, more efficiently and with more satisfaction and loyalty.

Email, calendars, work time and work tasks can keep tabs on the work that your staff is doing. Is this gathered information used to adjust and adapt or is it a corporate Big Brother whose only result is increasingly complex work avoidance?

A smart approach to transparency may beat a “more is better” approach, particularly during the early stages of implementation. Systems that feed the transparent condition are often used in opaque ways, sending mixed messages. Understanding transparency as a condition means treating transparency as a process. Instead of complicating the process, simplify it.

Read more tips from PCT again tomorrow.

Source: Elizabeth McCormick is a speaker, author and authority on leadership. A former U.S. Army Black Hawk pilot, she is the best-selling author of, “The P.I.L.O.T. Method: the 5 Elemental Truths to Leading Yourself in Life.” McCormick teaches real-life, easy-to-apply strategies to boost your employees’ confidence in the vision of your organization and their own leadership abilities.