Words can be as trendy as cars or movie stars. They sneak into our day-to-day language. We don’t finish things. We “finalize” them. We “take a position” instead of having an opinion. We are told to be “transparent” with our staff. Wouldn’t it be better to encourage straight talk and honest dialog? Using the word “transparent” implies that your staff might be able to deduce the truth, read your mind, or at least, read between the lines. I think we should eliminate the term “transparency” from our business conversations. Here’s why I’m a proponent of straight talk.
All businesses go through change. It’s vital that these changes not seem mysterious or unreasonable to the people affected by them. It’s a leader’s responsibility to make the reasons clear, whether it’s a change of mission or method, a reorganization, a merging of functions, or an attempt to address some new business opportunity. Especially when the message may be negative, it’s essential that there be a common understanding of why your company is doing what it’s doing.
From time to time, we should all ask ourselves some hard questions about how well we communicate. Have we made good use of personal conversations and group meetings to increase communication–two-way communication–with our staff? Have we spelled out our objectives for the months ahead? Have we been candid about business problems? Have we explained why changes are necessary? If you don’t have answers for the people you are leading, you should be asking questions yourself.
I have seen people demonstrate a remarkable adaptability to change. We owe them all the information and understanding that we can provide.
Rumors love a vacuum. You can give them something real to talk about or you can let everyone guess, read between the lines, surmise, compare notes, create stories and suck the productivity out of your organization. Straight talk. I’m a fan. –Linda Toops