Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Archive for May, 2014

Be authentic. Tell it like you see it.

A few days ago I posted a blog entry titled: “Be authentic, tell it like it is.” In that post, I shared some thoughts and two prior posts, all relating to direct and honest communication at work. After posting the blog entry on LinkedIn, I received the following comment from one of my colleagues, Joe Morone, a Sales Trainer and Speaker I found it so insightful that I asked Joe if he would mind my sharing it and quoting him. So here you go . . . valuable food for thought relating to “telling it like it is”.

— “Donna, I like this post and appreciate your putting it out there. I agree with authenticity. Please consider 1 concept. We tend to speak in terms of authenticity and reality. However, your view of reality could be different from someone else’s. Each of us looks at things through our own lens and with that we have past experiences, preferences, tastes etc. So when I tell it like it is…I say that from my viewpoint, this is what I see. I will then ask, for their view also. So, be honest, direct and tell it like you SEE it.”

Be authentic. Tell it like it is.

Even in our ever-changing business environment, some things never change. Since I write primarily about the human experience at work—relating to leadership and interpersonal communications—I find that entries that I posted several years ago are just as relevant today as they were when they were first posted. I wrote and shared the following two related entries over 4 years ago and I assure you that they are still as true as true gets.

Authenticity—the real deal. Published April 13, 2010

Working with individuals and teams over the years, I’ve learned that one of the most significant challenges people face is the ability to be truthful at work. This may sound inaccurate at first glance. However, if individuals experience a conflict or disappointment with one another, or with how they’re being managed, they often don’t feel free, or don’t have the courage, to voice their true opinions. And although they may have no problem sharing their concerns with others—who are not involved—they seldom approach the person they’re upset with, directly. And before long, inaccurate assumptions increase and barriers are built.

Whether we’re afraid to hurt someone we care about, or avoiding the wrath of someone we find difficult, fear of repercussions seems to be the primary obstacle in the way of truthful communications. Supervisors hesitate to “cross the line” as it relates to offering recommendations or opinions to their managers. Co-workers fear a strained relationship, or worse, a damaged one. Interestingly, this fear of repercussions spans across all employee levels, from support staff to executive management.

I’ve talked and blogged about the importance of positive, business-centered motives when communicating at work. Today, I offer one additional tidbit. Be authentic.

As long as you are respectful and making a genuine effort to maintain the esteem of the person you’re being honest with, simply being yourself and telling it like it is—from your perspective—can be very effective.

Caution is good, but for best results, tell it like it is. Published December 7, 2010

A common yet often unspoken red flag tells us to be less than honest at work. We’re careful about what we offer others in feedback, careful not to hurt anyone’s feelings, and careful not to generate feared repercussions.

This level of caution, in my experience, has hindered our ability to receive invaluable feedback, resolve conflict, or be effective communicators. As a professional coach and confidant, I am constantly reminded of how much more effective we would be as workplace and business contributors if we were to simply tell it like it is. Instead, we may stifle communications, build resentment, and miss opportunities to build collaborative and trustworthy relationships.

Professional communication does call for a reasonable level of caution. Use caution as it relates to being well-prepared, to being mutually respectful, to avoiding accusation and judgment, and to offering viable recommendations. These are examples of caution that can generate results.

Start a new trend at work. Approach with caution, but tell it like it is.

Profitability requires a leader’s sharp focus.

Had this article published this week (4/29/14) in Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle (Business). Wanted to share it with you.
Profitability requires a leader’s sharp focus.

Let’s face it, regardless of how customer focused, or altruistic your organization’s mission is, profitability is clearly a primary goal.

One of the most significant jobs a leader has to achieve high levels of profitability is to keep focused on sustaining the organization’s health and success — not only financially, but in every aspect of the business.

If you’re a leader of a highly profitable company, here are a few considerations you may want to re-visit to help sustain your organization’s growth and success:

– Your excitement may have you feeling empowered towards innovative thinking and new initiatives. This is great, as long as you’re also focusing on the strength of your infrastructure to best support work volume and future success.
– Employees most likely have to work very hard for an extended time to reach high profitability, be sure to keep their morale and stamina in mind. Employee satisfaction and retention are still the most important contributors to future
profitability. Ironically, times of high profitability can lead to low employee morale. It can be induced by exhaustion, or an awareness of the discrepancy between rewards reaped by owners and high-level executives as opposed to middle managers and staff. It may be time to address staff-wide meaningful rewards and recognition.
– Interestingly, when your company is experiencing a surge of abundance, you may find yourself more cautious about spending money. In our current business environment, it’s essential for leaders to assess and invest in resources to keep companies on the cutting edge.

Here’s to fully enjoying a profitable and successful organization, and effectively leading all who are involved in keeping it that way.