Honesty always pays!
“Uncle, What is your secret for success?”, My nephew asked me this question a few days back. My answer probably disappointed him as he was expecting an elaborate reply dotted with anecdotes. Instead what he got was a simple 2 word reply – ‘Speak Straight’.
The happiness in my personal life and the modest success that I have achieved in my professional world can be accredited to my trait of ‘speaking straight’. Since my boyhood days, I have diligently followed my father’s advice which was “speak honestly – say what you mean and be bold enough to ask questions”. I never believed in hiding my feelings whether it was appreciating a colleague’s work or condemning them for a substandard job. Being honest can prick a person at times but it may not essentially hurt them if you adhere to the following factors (this can be effectively applied at your workplace):
- A prelude – An honest feedback about a colleague’s shoddy work entails a brief introduction. Start the conversation with “It saddens me to see you fail in this task. Failure is a stepping stone for success but not always so.” Your positive intention as a prelude will elicit better answers.
- Tonal quality – Speaking straight does not imply that you raise your voice while expressing your thoughts or feelings. Check your tonal quality and always refrain from shouting. This will encourage a colleague to approach you whenever he needs your advice or suggestion in future.
- Make a promise – If you are expecting a colleague to own up to his mistake then assure him of your commitment towards improving the situation. Nit picking and admonishing are not essentially the tenets of talking straight. Always end the conversation with a promise to act upon a matter so that the relationship gains a positive momentum.
Studies have also proved that honest conversations can lead to workplace productivity and camaraderie. Talking straight has more or less become an intrinsic part of me and I am proud of this fact.
I realize many people who have interacted with me on a professional level or on a personal basis have misconstrued this trait to be discourteous and arrogant. Through this blog, I would like to assure you that I always had the best intentions for you and will continue to do so.