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Looking for honesty in the workplace

"I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an ‘honest man.’ Your honesty influences others to be honest."
George Washington, Commander in Chief of the colonial armies in the American Revolution (1775-83) and President (1789-97)

Honesty and integrity build trust which is essential for cooperation and growth
Steven Gaffney has written two books about honest communication. Gaffney says honesty in the workplace equates to simple, straightforward communication between co-workers and on every organizational level. That, he contends, is in short supply which means employees waste time dealing with internal problems.

The lack of straightforward communication costs businesses and organizations billions of dollars because it contributes to
• poor decisions,
• internal conflict and
• lost productivity.

One of the most prevalent issues that Gaffney sees in working with corporate clients is what he calls "the lies of withholding."

"When someone avoids a festering issue with a co-worker, tells a supervisor only the good news, remains silent when he or she disagrees with a proposed initiative, becomes a 'yes-man' with superiors to curry favor or complains to someone other than the person he or she has an issue with, the worker is being dishonest," Gaffney said.

The costs of poor, ineffective communication
The average employee loses seven weeks of productivity every year because of troublesome and unresolved communication. Lack of open, honest communication is at the root of 80 percent of problems at work.

Honesty belongs in the workplace but employ civility
• Be clear about whether you have time to listen now or not.
• Seek honest answers.
• React positively to feedback. If you ask for comments and then sulk or become defensive, no one is going to give you honest feedback.
Focus on facts, not opinions. Focus on achieving a solution. Blunt questions, accusations and assumptions force people into defensive modes. Instead of asking, "Why isn’t this project done?” ask "What do you need to finish this project?"

A July 31, 2006 interview (5 minutes) with Steven Gaffney, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlX8V6HyOeI

Honestly…these Gaffney notes are from a press release and a television interview. I’ve not read his books, ‘Just Be Honest’ and ‘Honesty Works!’, but they’ve gone on my wish list.

Ask questions that begin with what and how, not why, who and when
June 4, 2007 post, The right questions (what and how) for personal accountability
Use the word ‘because’
June 18, 2007 post, Because, because, because….because……….


Right on. I specialize in identifying job candidates with bad attitudes before they are hired. Civility in the workplace and honesty have much to do with who you hire. You may be interested in my blog www.workplaceattitudes.blogspot.com. We share a common interest. Thanks.

"Just because Ben Franklin wanted to make the turkey
our national bird, doesn't mean you have to hire one."

Dale G. Paulson, Ph.D
President, Allegiance Research Group