I blogged recently about telling it like it is and the importance of honesty. I talked about how we could throw off fear and be more truthful but there is another level to all of this, which is how we can encourage others into being brave with their thoughts too.
Have you ever been in a meeting, particularly where senior people are involved, and others are feigning a false position or putting on a front only to come out and share their true feelings at the coffee machine or in their close circle of friends when they get back to their desk?
This kind of culture isn’t good for your company – it leads to low engagement and high turnover as people feel that honesty is the first step on the path to career suicide.
So as leaders (If you don’t think you are not a leader read this) what can we do about it?
The first thing we can do is work on the culture. Through personal example can you speak up in those same meetings giving an opinion that might not be the ‘party line’. Can you actively tackle rumours passing through your team by addressing the ones that you hear about and asking if there are anymore that may be going around that you can help with.
Second, reward honesty. If someone speaks up don’t bat them down or criticise them. Acknowledge it, encourage it, understand the point by asking questions and verbally agree that their view might be right.
Finally, if you are in a position to, change the mix in your team. Through the recruitment process bring in people who will be honest. Use the process to enforce the message that anyone joining your team needs to be open and not afraid to share their views.
I have worked in companies where honesty is frowned upon and they aren’t nice places. I’m sure you have too.
So show people that they don’t have to pretend anymore….encourage them into being brave!