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Would you like to know how much money your co-workers and bosses make? Would it be acceptable for your co-workers to know your salary? Usually this information is confidential, but a handful of companies are making salary information transparent, as described in a recent NPR Planet Money story.

People who are skilled at negotiating for their salary might feel that this transparency puts them at a disadvantage. Others might appreciate having information they wouldn’t normally be privy to. First time negotiators often express their concern that they do not have enough information to feel confident negotiating. This is usually based on their underlying assumption that during the negotiating process they will be taken advantage of, suffer a loss of ego (for example, be humiliated), or give up something important.

Leaders must conduct themselves in ways that enhance their credibility. They are in a very visible position, and therefore assume that every action and decision will be looked at under a microscope. As stated by the entrepreneur interviewed in the NPR Planet Money story, “transparency is a defense against the games that bad bosses can play. For instance, you can’t pay women less than men if everybody can see what you’re doing.” Transparency is essential to good governance, along with being honorable, accountable, and thinking and acting long-term while being scrupulously honest.

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