Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

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.


No comments yet»

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: