A clear look at transparent leadership

Transparent leadership is one of the most important things loan officers look for in a mortgage employer. This may never be more true than it is today, as mortgage professionals across the United States turn to their business leaders for information and advice on how to overcome the challenges facing them. housing and mortgage markets are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, it can be easy for mortgage companies – or any company for that matter – to fail in this area. Leaders may have valid reasons for withholding information, such as fear of panicking employees or the need to maintain better control of the situation. But mortgage employers certainly shouldn’t use ‘safe-in-place’ controls or locked doors at physical headquarters and branches as an excuse for not being transparent with loan officers and other employees with the abundance of technological resources. at hand. The virtual doors of a transparent leader are always wide open.

Ultimately, especially in times of change and uncertainty, there are more advantages than disadvantages to transparent leadership.

What does transparent leadership look like?

A transparent leader is not someone who indulges in the culture of excessive sharing, posting all the intimate details of their day on social media. Transparency is strategic, targeted and targeted.

Frequent and honest communication

Employee Satisfaction Survey After survey, it is important to keep employees informed. In the mortgage world, loan officers want to know the details of loan program adjustments, policy changes, overall business performance, etc. in an uncertain market – the good and the bad. No one likes surprises when it comes to business and market stability.

Mortgage professionals realize that certain information must be kept close at hand to avoid divulging a lender’s competitive advantages. It is good for a leader to say that some information cannot be discussed at this time, but will be communicated later. But the sharing of indicators, benchmarks and key business objectives allows loan officers and entire teams to link their own performance to that of the business, to invest personally and to take ownership of their role. to help the business achieve the desired results. It can also provide insight into the reasoning behind major decisions and changes.

Frequent communication is essential for setting clear expectations and measuring progress towards achieving them. This helps to avoid all too common misunderstandings, false assumptions and unfulfilled expectations.

But honest communication is a two-way street. Transparent leaders welcome feedback in one-on-one meetings, employee engagement and satisfaction surveys, and even feedback on social media posts and live web sessions.

There are so many ways to communicate today! During this COVID-19 pandemic, with all employees working remotely, Academy Mortgage executives are providing company updates through weekly town halls broadcast across the country, daily video market updates, frequent emails, dedicated websites, internal communication platforms, etc. Their intention is to communicate quickly and to be as specific and transparent as possible in sharing information as it arrives continuously and quickly.

Direct access to leadership

Transparent leaders practice what they preach. A true open door policy means that a leader answers their phone, quickly returns calls, and responds to emails and texts. They then set the standard to be followed by the entire management team of the company.

Proactive, not reactive

Transparent leaders show a willingness to be flexible and to listen and incorporate feedback. They are agile but strategic, and respond to constantly changing conditions with agility and optimism.

Provide personal support

In times of stress, there is nothing more meaningful to an employee than knowing that their employer is supporting them. Transparent mortgage managers get to know their loan officers and other employees personally. They want to make personal connections and be a friendly source of motivation, encouragement, and empathy.

How do loan officers benefit from transparent leadership?

Mortgage lenders should continue their new communication practices and behaviors to be more transparent. We will likely see differences in the way we work together after this pandemic. Leaders must be committed to communicating transparently so that the business and its loan officers reap long-term benefits.

Confidence, autonomy and confidence

Perhaps the number one benefit of transparent leadership is building trust. There is no doubt that leading with transparency can leave someone feeling vulnerable, but employees will reward the humility of their leaders with loyalty and trust.

For loan officers, trust translates into autonomy and trust. A transparent leader gives the loan officer the information he needs, confident that he will use it to confidently make his own business decisions at the local level.

Align personal values ​​with company values ​​and goals

Loan officers who see their own personal values ​​reflected in the words and actions of their leaders are more likely to support and support the overall purpose and vision of the business. Transparency is a powerful unifier which, in turn, encourages loan officers and their teams to work smarter and harder towards a common goal.

Improved production and team performance

As greater transparency promotes greater advocacy, loan officers and highly engaged employees are more likely to achieve higher performance and productivity. Open discussion with leaders and knowing they have all the information they need allows teams to work together quickly and effectively to solve problems and make decisions. Teams build faster and relationships develop in a more authentic way in a culture of trust and transparency. It is energizing to feel part of a close-knit team. There is also an increased sense of responsibility, as sales teams clearly know what is expected of them and want to do their best to make the business successful.

A reason to stay

When transparency is a priority in their business, loan officers feel confident with information and decision-making power, and as a result, they feel valued. They know their opinions matter and their comments are heard. There is less uncertainty about the future as they are informed of their leaders’ plans, goals and strategies for moving forward.

Transparent leadership binds a business together through integrity, openness and loyalty.


Kristi Pickering is Director of Operations at Academy MortgageKristi Pickering is Director of Operations at Academy Mortgage, a leading independent lender with more than 250 branches across the United States. Kristi has held all operating positions during her 25-plus-year mortgage career, which has given her invaluable knowledge and experience to see the big picture as a mortgage leader. Kristi can be reached at [email protected]. Visit Join.AcademyMortgage.com for more information.

This sponsored editorial originally appeared in the May 2020 print edition of National Mortgage Professional magazine.

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