Leaders should make their calendars public

While I would encourage everyone working in a healthy organization—from individual contributors to managers and beyond—to consider making their work calendar internally public to their organization, this is especially true for leaders.

Many of the benefits of making one’s calendar internally public remain the same regardless of role—transparency and ease-of-scheduling—but these benefits are multiplied throughout the organization that the leader manages as well. In making their calendar public by default, a leader sets an example for others around them. They provide transparency into where their time goes. Mostly importantly, doing this instills trust through these things.

And while not sharing one’s calendar details by default can certainly be seen as a neutral act when one is an individual contributor, I believe that not sharing one’s calendar as a leader trends from a neutral action into a negative one: it can sow distrust. A leader’s organization structure is left to ask: what is preventing them from being transparent? If nothing, perhaps they’re not thoughtful enough to make it public? What does my manager even do?

It’s a simple form of passive communication that can provide a lot of insight for others around you. It’s a form of documentation—that of time and implicit priorities.

There are exceptions of course. Sensitive subjects or private projects will require some manual configuration away from the default. But for me and many others this is the exception, not the norm.

As a quick side note, it’s important to not force people to make their calendar public, but to lead by example and live the benefits of doing so. Importantly, I try not to judge folks on the ground for not sharing their calendars. It’s completely understandable if one is not comfortable sharing their calendar within an organization due to bad behaviors of the organization around them or for any other reason at all. However, for leaders, who are best equipped to drive a strong culture of transparency and a safe environment, living by example can help progress this kind of environment.

Bringing it all back together, sharing one’s calendar publicly within an organization is an important step to transparency and openness that I think should be fostered. I highly encourage all to do this, especially leaders.