Candor can be a wonderful gift in the workplace. In its absence, many people think they are doing well when really, they are alienating others right and left.
Having consulted with HR and business leadership for some three decades, I’ve seen as much dysfunction resulting from “no candor” as from having too much.
When feeling compelled to deliver unpleasant feedback, it is common to preface it with “I just want to be honest.” This seems to then release the (feedback) giver from any need to couch the comments in a way that takes into consideration of how their words might affect the receiver.
Candor can spew forth judgmental and overarching comments. The feedback giver will often have the delusion that they are just being helpful,
More often than not, candor is really an excuse to tell off the receiver or share a perception of the person–which isn’t necessarily shared by anyone else.
The result is the receiver can get defensive or hurt. They can lash out, or withdraw, feeling that they have no redeeming qualities.
What’s missing in the vast majority of cases is kindness.
If the comments are delivered with some thought about timing, location, and word choice, the message is much more likely to be heard and received. The receiver can then decide what actions, if any, are warranted.
The next time you feel you need to give some honest feedback, take some time to think through how you will say it, as well as when and where. In doing so, you are more likely to make a difference with the receiver (of your feedback), rather than alienate the person.
My HR West 2020 session, Leadership Lessons from Silicon Valley will provide further insight into how coupling candor with kindness can lead to amazing results for successful communication in the workplace.
Rebecca Morgan CSP, CMC – Morgan Seminar Group