Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor by Bennis, Goleman, O’Toole and Biederman (part 3)

Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor is a collection of three essays written by BennisGolemanO’Toole and Biederman.

The new transparency by Warren Bennis

The new transparency, by Warren Bennis, is the third and last essay of Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor. This essay defines digital transparency, focuses on the effects of the “digital revolution” and how it has made transparency quasi inevitable in modern day organizations.

What is the upside of the new transparency?

Transparency notoriously drives success, effectiveness and trust between members of an organization.

The emergence of internet has been able to fill the cultural need for transparency, to break down old rules and traditions, to erase borders and social status barriers.

In particular, the rise of blogs:

  • has transformed the mainstream media. Blogs shape the public opinion. Moreover, mainstream media now rely upon them to exchange and to create loyalty amongst their viewers.
  • has transformed politics (for the better?). Indeed, blogs have increased transparency over the years: in many countries, the government and politicians can no longer hold secrets, maintain exclusive power and absolute control over citizens. Blogs have become a political and diplomatic tool to fight corruption and power abuse.
  • has exposed insiders “secrets to outsiders” in corporations: most bloggers whistleblow freely, safely and anonymously.
  • has changed the societal game. Protests happen in the streets as well in the cyberspace.
  • has evenly distributed information and knowledge. Seeing that knowledge is power, blogs have created a new power that have made leaders “lose their monopoly on leadership”. Blogs have given a digital platform for people from  different nationalities, social categories and spheres of influence to express their opinions.

What is the downside of the new transparency?

First of all, the digital transparency incites a lack of privacy. Most individuals’ confidential information (credit card number, personal records,…) transits openly on internet, which makes them vulnerable to hacking and allows misuse of information and illegal tracking of their information.

Also, the “digital realm is wild and minimally policed”. Some users take advantage of the anonymity of internet to dishonestly compete, to openly attack an institution, organization or another individual under false pretenses.

Digital transparency has devalued, through the mainstream media, “authentic expertise by treating ordinary viewers and readers as the equals of those with genuine insight and experience” to enhance their viewers’ loyalty. Unfortunately, it also impedes their viewers from comprehending or appropriately analysing complex facts and events.

Warren Bennis denotes that blogs, acquiring greater influence and outreach than news paper, will substitute the latter if the content “commit to high standards of accuracy, fairness, and conduct”.

On the internet, where there are no secrets, where information persists for several lifetimes and where truth is relative, users are able to decide the perimeters of transparency,  to fabricate the truth and to create the persona they want. However, users are unable to vet and verify the actual truth.

To read the review on the first essay Creating a culture of candor by Warren BennisDaniel Goleman, and Patricia Ward Biedermanclick here.

To read the review on the second essay Speaking truth to power by James O’Tooleclick here.


SearchTransparency.jpg.jpegThe new transparency by Warren Bennis is a proper conclusion to the book Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor that delivers impartial views on the internet and the blogosphere.

While reading his book, several contemporaneous examples came to mind such as the Black Lives Matter Movement that started in summer 2013, in the United States and has since then spread itself to different countries, to different nationalities and cultures. Social Media and blogs have definitely given the Movement the tools that it needed to speak up about police brutality on African-Americans, to show proof of police misconduct, to syndicate and organize itself and finally, to resist oppression.

One example of the misuse of the internet platform is cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is the bullying of an individual over the internet, through blogs or social media. Many victims of cyberbullying have spoken publicly over this issue but due to the anonymity and the lack of regulation of the internet, the government has not yet found a way to penalize the abusers.

Favorite quote(s)

Transparency would not be a problem in a world in which everyone is decent and fair-minded.

Ratings 3/5


Warren Bennis



About journeytoleadershipblog

I started this blog to improve my leadership skills, to retain and share the tips that I use on a daily basis in the workplace. I also review books that are essential to leadership development.
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65 Responses to Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor by Bennis, Goleman, O’Toole and Biederman (part 3)

  1. Lilly Moore says:

    You’re absolutely right, blogs can be very powerful.


  2. Janice Wald says:

    Brilliant article. I’d heard of the death of blogs due to the rise of video as a way to transmit information. This is good news.


  3. Tamsin says:

    Transparency doesn’t have to equate to lack of privacy, if done right by organisations. There is a lot of good practice around but few who use it


  4. Katja Knox says:

    Transparency is, to me at least, very important. But it has been reduced to a buzz word of late and it doesn’t have the same tone anymore. I think, especially in the new world of www, we may have to redefine the whole concept.
    Katja xxx


  5. I value my privacy, so I am not sure how I feel about this. It was interesting to learn more about it here today.


  6. Amber says:

    This is interesting to think about. I detest cyberbullying. I hate that people feel the need to be cruel.


  7. I find it incredible how much information that you can find out about someone on the internet now. Makes it hard to believe how we could ever have transparency in the old days haha


  8. This such an interesting post. Mainstream media is definitely moving up..


  9. This is very interesting, I truly do believe that transparency helps to drive success into a business. And the downfall is the lack of privacy and possibility of personal information getting leaked out, it definitely sounds like a great read!


    • Thank you Sondra Barker! Everything in life cones with a downfall (unfortunately). We have to ask ourselves if we are willing to pay the price of transparency. If we don’t, we have to define a limit to transparency.


  10. love the final line transparency is something that must be honesty something limited in todays world


  11. toastycritic says:

    I definitely think that blogs have supplanted peoples information sources that they used to have before which is good and bad. Because its hard to police the information that is out there and know what is right and wrong. Then again in an age of post truth I am not sure we are getting the genie back in it’s bottle.


  12. In an ideal world I think we would all be balanced and fair, unfortunately the human condition prevents this!


  13. Alfonzowords says:

    such a brilliantly insightful post filled with powerful golden nuggets. It great that you such an inspiring and motivational blog


  14. “Transparency would not be a problem in a world in which everyone is decent and fair-minded.” love this quote. There are too many judgemental people out there and those that bully.


  15. It’s amazing how much the internet has changed the world and the way we all interact with each other. And in such a short time, too.


  16. Jay Colby says:

    This is an was such an well written article. Being transparent is vital in every aspect of our lives especially in business.


  17. Nikki Leigh says:

    I 100% agree with that quote. If everyone lived decently, there wouldn’t be anything to hide.


  18. So true, transparency is really important, lets people believe and trust in something that can be seen as clear. Personal informations should stay private, there are so many not honest people around…


  19. Muna Kenny says:

    Transparency is like a knife with two sharp edges! I like to know that information is available but I hate the fact that my privacy is not really private!


    • Transparency comes with a price. With transparency, everything is exposed: from your tax returns to your credit card number that paid the taxes. It is hard to pick and choose which side we want to be on. Thank you for commenting!


  20. payacolada says:

    Sounds like an interesting essays, would love to read it!


  21. mamafishsaves says:

    Transparency when it comes to the internet is a tough issue. It is always crazy to me when everyone praises Wikileaks for releasing CIA or government data but then freaks out when Target or other companies lose their credit card information. If you want full transparency from everyone you interact with, they are going to have your information too.


    • Very true! Transparency is a very controversial subject: to what extent are we supposed to control information? Are we supposed to be transparent in out own mini constitution (family, organization,…) and private outside of that institution? Though questions… Thank you mamafishsave for commenting!


  22. The lack of privacy is scary. So much of us live our lives online and the amount of personal info we share is crazy


  23. amyandtots says:

    It sounds like an interesting read and it’s very mind opening.


  24. Thanks for doing this review. I really like how detailed you put into your book review. Great post!


  25. Ana De-Jesus says:

    I definitely think that the government needs to work on ways to punish cyber bullies because the consequences of it can be damaging and the effects be permanent. It certainly is a difficult topic to address x


  26. Wow what an interesting book. Transparency can be both good and bad depending on how you look at it.


  27. Interesting article. I learned something new from here. I do love transparency and i think it’s important in today’s age.


  28. I think it’s important to have transparency whether it’s a company, a government or a relationship. It does build trust.


  29. I do believe that Transparency is vital factor in a company. But in social media, if in terms of personal life I think people have to minimize exposing their private situation.


    • Willingly exposing your personal life opn social media is a personal choice, as much as being candid towards one another in corporations is a strategic choice. However, being hacked and having all your confidential information displayed for the whole world to see is a downside of being in a transparent society. We have to decide the limitations of transparency and how to work around that downside.
      Thank You Raissa Filram for commenting!


  30. GD Blog says:

    I believe that blogs or news on internet are really the great way now to gather information. Like what you said, no secrets at all


  31. This is very informative posts. And i learned a lot about transparency. Reading more 🙂


  32. Pingback: The Importance Of Fairness In Leadership | Journey To Leadership

  33. Pingback: Detecting And Dealing With Toxic Leaders | Journey To Leadership

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