Truth Vs Fiction – What’s Your Management Style?

March 1, 2009 by  Filed under: Management 

Can your ego allow you to consistently share the truth with your employees? Are you secure enough in your own skin to be able to let people know bad news in a timely manner without sugar coating it? Do you trust yourself and your employees enough that you can be vulnerable and honest about your weaknesses, mistakes, shortcomings or lack of ability or skill to handle a problem, challenge or issue? Or, are you overly concerned what some people might think of you and your leadership ability or management skills that you fail to communicate with integrity, consistency and clarity?

Too often managers and executives hold back information in the hopes of looking good or competent when ultimately most employees already know or have guessed who is the problem and why. So, stop kidding yourself. If you are a manager who tries to look good all the time in every instance, you are not fooling anyone but yourself.

Yes there are times and situations when it is appropriate not to share “all of the news” with “all of the employees.” Yes there are financial considerations, things like pending mergers and acquisitions and a variety of critical aspects of any circumstance that every employee doesn’t have the need or right to know. I understand this. What I am referring to here are those pieces of information that will directly or indirectly impact an employee’s morale, confidence, performance or productivity.

Having said this, it has been my experience with many of my clients that even the sacred secrets were not really secret, they just lived in fantasy-land believing that only a select few of senior management knew what was going on. Sooner or later truth will leak out from any number of sources. Just look at the past 50 years in the political arena. If politicians had been honest from the beginning they would have saved them and a lot of other people a great deal of stress, trauma, frustration, anxiety and yes fear.

Coming clean in the beginning from my perspective is always the best policy, especially if you know that sooner or later the truth will be known. Is it ego or fear that prevents people from sharing truth early or is it a simple case of denial? Don’t know, but what I do know is that generally speaking honesty is always the best policy.

When was the last time you shared the total truth with your employees about an issue or situation that was vital to your overall success?

When was the last time you tried to hide some bit of information from your employees and they eventually found out before you were ready for them to know it?

When was the last time the rumor mill in your organization was closer to the truth than you would have liked?

When was the last time your failure to share truth in a timely fashion cost your organization a customer, profits, market share, a competitive position or created a negative response from customers or your suppliers?

When was the last time by sharing truth early, you were able to disarm a potential crisis in confidence or morale?

We are living in challenging and uncertain times. Now more than ever what employees need, want and deserve is truth and integrity. How are you doing?

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