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Being Honest…

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Being Honest Saves Everyone So Much Time

I was in a meeting with a group of individuals who were all very successful people and we were tasked with completing a pretty large project and were given a goal to complete the project.  The only thing discussed that first day was that it would be great if we could get this done and everyone seemed to just talk about how great it will be to complete this project.  So we all went off and when we came back to the next meeting, no one had really done anything.  Keep in mind this is a group of high producers.  This went on for several months until someone on the leadership team had expressed their disgust with the lack of progress and demanded specific tasks that needed to be accomplished and introduced metrics that would accomplish the goal.  The next month, everyone had met their goal and we were well on our way to completing the task.  Does the first part of this story sound like any of the meetings that you have ever been in?

A key component of success is having the ability to communicate ideas to others and motivate them to attainment.  However, a great part of that communication skill that often sets everyone up for success is having the ability to be frank and honest in their feedback.  Rather it be good or bad.  That is something that is missing in many companies today and there are several reasons for it.  However, it is something that can elevate any group; just having the ability to be honest with each other.  Let me explain why.

We live in a society that relies and prefers for those around them to sugar coat everything.  When a message is sugar coated there are some key components that are missed because the message was not clearly relayed.  For example:  A manager may not be happy with an employee’s performance and might communicate the message like this:  “You are doing a good job, but we would like to see you to become the best that you can be.  Can you try to work harder at completing your project on time?  It would really help the team.”  It would be easy for the employee to not see their performance to be something that is a concern with this kind of message.  However, if you communicated the message like this:  “Your performance is not meeting our standards.  When a deadline is set for projects to be completed, we expect for you to meet those deadlines.  If you are unable to meet them, it will be a problem for everyone involved.”  This message creates a clear problem that needs to be addressed.

It is imperative that managers are clear and concise with employees.  If there is an expectation that needs to be met, it is essential that the manager be clear if there is a deadline or if there are any metrics that need to be met.  If the manager is not specifically clear on what they want from someone, it often leads to a misunderstanding and the employee “assumes” what the manager needs for them to accomplish and when they need to accomplish it.

Many managers are uncomfortable addressing employees with honesty and with specific details.  Any good manager understands the uncomfortable situation of telling someone that they need to improve on this or that.  It is never fun to have those conversations.  However, by not having them, there is more of a disservice to the employee by not communicating clearly what expectations are.  It can leave them confused and the manager frustrated because desired results are not being met.  This kind of miscommunication can be eliminated with a simple clear and honest conversation about where they stand.  It is only fair to let them know.  If they have a desire to successfully work with you, they will make efforts for adjustment.  One of my mentors once told me that to not correct bad behavior or work performance is basically the equivalent of celebrating it.  Let’s be honest.  It will help everyone out.