Politicians are renowned for saying one thing but meaning something completely different. It’s been going on for years and we just seem to accept it – maybe even expect it.
When this type of language creeps into the workplace it can have detrimental effects. The last thing we want is for our offices to become a haven for double speak and muddled communication.
When we don’t say what we think, negotiations become long and drawn-out; meetings go forever and are boring; people make poor decisions and may even take unwanted action. All of this can be avoided with a little honesty.
Imagine a situation where negotiations are fast and fruitful, meetings concise, honest feedback and new ideas are welcomed and everyone can challenge anyone – no matter how senior (or junior) their position. That sounds great – perhaps utopian – but why is it so hard to be honest in the workplace?
Here are a few small tips to encourage honesty in your workplace.
1. Listen to someone’s viewpoint and be inquisitive. People won’t speak out unless they know they will be heard and understood.
2. Accept that honest mistakes will happen. Stress the importance of addressing mistakes as soon as they happen. Honest mistakes are most damaging when they are swept under the carpet for fear of retribution or looking foolish in the eyes of others.
3. Promote communication in varying forums. Some people may be reluctant to speak up in front of a large group or in a formal setting, so offer more private and casual avenues for feedback.
4. Say it like you mean it. If you say something in a joking manner the joke could be on you if your message is misunderstood or not take seriously. Cut the distractions and cut to the chase.
5. Say what needs to be said and don’t leave out the important bits. Be honest and thorough!
BTW, if you don’t like this blog post it’s OK to tell me. I appreciate your honesty!