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Openness may refer to a general philosophical position highlighted by a decision-making process recognizing communal management by distributed stakeholders (users, producers, or contributors) rather than a centralized authority (owners, experts, boards of directors, etc.). It accepts new ideas, methods, or changes.
Openness (or intellect) is the name of one of the major dimensions of personality. It is also considered to be one of the major aspects of leadership.
In order to be a good leader, there are some qualities that are necessary such as creativity, dedication, integrity, and magnanimity. Leaders also need to demonstrate a sense of openness.
Openness is one of the qualities that should be manifested by all leaders. Each leader, however, has the ability to choose whether or not to be open with themselves as well as with other members. In most cases, this does not come naturally nor does it come easily at times.
It is rather important for a leader to be open with other members because it allows for the exchange of ideas. This ultimately causes the leader to see things in a different way. Perhaps, as a result, they will approach certain situations differently than they would have before.
In order to be considered open, a leader has to accept as well as value new experiences and thoughts. They have to listen to what other members might have to say. To phrase this a bit differently, they have to be attentive. Not only do they need to be present physically, but they should also be present emotionally. And they should not immediately judge one’s ideas or thoughts. Instead, they should wait until everyone has had the opportunity to talk.
Doing this shows members that the leader cares about them. And, as a result, they are able to easily build trust with everyone—a foundation in any relationship, including a professional one. A good leader will treat ideas from other members equally or perhaps better than they would treat their own ideas. Any criticism that they get in regards to their own ideas, they should not take personally. In contrast, they should take the criticism and use it in a way that would ensure improvement for the future.
Leaders who demonstrate openness seem to have certain characteristics such as creativeness as well as thoughtfulness. They also seem to value anything that promotes thinking—in other words, intellectual matters. After a while, an environment is created that allows everyone to share information and ultimately take part in the decision-making process in addition to permitting opposition. Most importantly, it is flexible.
However, in some cases, a leader might not want to be open. This typically seems to occur as a result of personal or professional fear. They trust themselves more than they trust other members with decisions. Issues like this need to be addressed in order for a leader to progress onto becoming more open. The willingness to change, however, is entirely up to them. If they are reluctant to change, then there are a couple of other options that would still ensure openness in the environment. The leader can at least allow other members to speak freely. Or they can temporarily step out, which would allow everyone’s thoughts to be heard.
If a leader is willing to change to become more open, there are a few things that can help them out. The first thing would be to encourage members to take risks because risks are the origin of creativity and innovation. It is crucial that the leader begins to trust the individuals who are being led. When they start to feel like they are trusted, they will be more willing to contribute their ideas and thoughts.
The second thing would be to view mistakes as learning opportunities. If an individual makes a mistake, the leader should not negatively criticize them. This will only make them feel bad about it. Instead, the individual should be encouraged to analyze their mistake to determine exactly what caused it. By doing this, the individual will be able to use this as a learning experience. And, hopefully, they will not make the same mistake in the future.
Sharing information with everyone is the last thing that can help a leader become more open. It is important to do this because, otherwise, different versions of the truth might start to turn up. This, then, progresses onto the emergence of lies and rumors. In the end, everyone would in some way be affected by this, in particular the leader. Therefore, as mentioned earlier, information should be shared amongst everyone. A leader who shares information about themselves in addition to whatever else that they deem necessary will be trusted a lot more. Members will also have a lot more respect for them. With both respect and trust present, an environment in which intelligent decisions are made will be created.
Leaders need to have a number of different characteristics in order to be considered good leaders. One of the most important characteristics, however, is openness. It builds a foundation of respect and trust between the leader and his/her members, which is essential in any relationship.
- Free software
- Transparency (behavior)
- Connectivism (learning theory)
- Open source
- Free content
- Open access (publishing)
- Open innovation
- Open education
- Open educational resources
- Open Educational Practices
- Open development
- Open government
- Open Hardware
- Open Knowledge Foundation
- Open system (systems theory)
- Open text
- Open theism
- Open system
- Transparency : openness in a utilitarian view : economical openness, open economic or politic data, etc. (lower degree of openness)
- Bennis, Warren. "Bennis' Leadership Qualities." Changing Minds. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2013. <http://changingminds.org/disciplines/leadership/articles/bennis_qualities.htm>.
- Boyle, James. "Leadership Through Openness." Higher Potentials. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2013. <http://www.higherpotentials.com/index2.php?option=com_content>.
- Conley, Randy. "Four Leadership Practices to Build a Culture of Trust and Openness." Leading With Trust. N.p., 05 July 2011. Web. 03 Dec. 2013. <http://leadingwithtrust.com/2011/07/05/four-leadership-practices/>.
- Eco, Umberto; Anna Cancogni and David Robey (1989). The Open Work. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674639751.
- "Leadership Traits - Openness." Business Leadership Qualities. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2013. <http://www.business-leadership-qualities.com/leadershiptraits-o.html>.
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