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Wednesday, August 9, 2023

The Importance of Honesty at Work

We often tell kids that honesty is the best policy. The truth of the matter is that philosophy holds true for employees, too, especially when it comes to the workplace.

The expectation of honesty at work means you have to be clear and open with everyone. When you are, it demonstrates trust and creates an environment of transparency — another vital element in all great organizations.

Openness and honesty at work make for an environment where people feel trusted, especially by company leadership. When you have an environment where information is communicated with clarity, it opens the door for greater connection and productivity.

Do your employees really know what's going on with your company?  Be honest with your employees they can handle the truth.  Remember, sharing information with employees is good for a couple of reasons: one, it's the right thing to do, and two, it's good for business. 

Here are five reasons you should embrace transparency:

1. People assume the worst when they don't hear from leaders. Silence from the executive office causes a lot of fear and resentment, which certainly doesn't contribute to a productive culture. Maybe the news is bad, but maybe it's not as bad as they are imagining. And even if it is, once they know the truth they can plan and act accordingly.

2. Transparency helps employees connect to the why. When employees are working in a vacuum, they can't see the financial "big picture," and decisions leaders make may seem ill-advised or unfair or simply inexplicable. Transparency connects them to the why—and that understanding propels them to act. You can ask people to change their work habits and established processes all day long. But if they don't know why they're being asked to change, they won't change—at least not for long.

3. Transparency allows for consistent messaging across the organization. When you commit to transparency, people don't have to get their (speculative, distorted) news through the company grapevine. They hear what's really going on, in a controlled and consistent way, from their managers. This, in turn, creates organizational consistency. When everyone is hearing the same messages from their leaders, everyone is motivated to respond in similar ways. And this consistency trickles down to the customers, who get the same basic experience regardless of who they're dealing with.

4. Transparency leads to faster, more efficient execution. When times are tough, execution is everything. And the ticket to good execution is good alignment: All sectors of an organization must understand exactly what's required so they act in a coordinated and collaborative fashion. Transparency is what facilitates that kind of alignment. It's all about a shared sense of urgency.

5. Transparency facilitates the best possible solutions. In transparent cultures, leaders encourage employees to solve problems themselves. And because those employees are the people closest to a problem, and because they must live with the outcome, they almost always design the most effective, efficient solution.  And, of course, they'll also have instant buy-in.

Honesty really is the best policy. It’s not easy and it might sting from time to time, but when you do it right, honesty will create a better work environment and position your brand to be more successful in the long-run.

The more transparent the work environment, the happier the employees are.  The happier employees are, the more productive they are.  Ultimately, honesty builds trust in the company and confidence in leadership. Voicing the truth enables all of us to identify the issue and work as a team to better it.

It all has to start with you, the leader. Model the culture you want to see. Hold yourself accountable to the same standard you hold employees to. Stay competitive, deliver a better product, and build an engaged team of skilled workers to take your business to the next level. Just do it with honesty and transparency at the forefront.

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