Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

Truth-Telling At Work Is A Must

Published on July 31, 2018 by   ·   No Comments Pin It

As a leader in a large organization, one of the things that I recognize as key for my success is truth-telling.

The recent news of a major reorganization came suddenly and was totally unexpected. Employees on my teams immediately became upset and fearful. Such a large organizational restructuring seemed daunting to most. Some colleagues worried that they would be forced to leave their team, get a new boss, be slated for a new role, or, at worst, lose their job. There was a potential for loss of employee focus and morale. Such a problem could seriously impact near-term business results.

What might be done to help ensure “business as usual”?

A good way as a leader to manage these types of changes is to drop the three “Fs”—facts, fear, and force—and focus on being open, empathetic, and mindful of employees’ perspectives and needs.

Truth-Telling At Work Is A Must

Truth-Telling At Work Is A Must

Here are a few things to keep in mind during such a transition:

Engage emotionally. Show your concern for employees and be mindful of your tone and body language when delivering a difficult message.

Validate another person’s point of view. Validation is recognizing and acknowledging another person’s point of view. Once you understand why another person believes what he believes, it’s important to acknowledge it. This can be very affirming.

Encourage conversations that matter. Give people permission to offer ideas and to express doubts. Having conversations that matter at work can improve employee morale and increase employee loyalty, especially during times of major change.

Listen to what’s really being said. Listening is a crucial skill for boosting another person’s self-esteem. Listen to the entire message the other person is trying to communicate. Ask yourself, What is being said? What tone is being used? What is she doing with her body while speaking? These are the ways to ascertain what someone is truly feeling.

Don’t make “bad news” sound like “good news”—it’s not. Get to the point, and make sure your message is clear and understood. Prepare a person or team for the information to come by saying, “I have something important that I need to share with you that may be difficult to hear.” That upfront warning is often a good way to soften the blow. Be available for employees to raise questions and concerns thereafter; show your support.

Times of great change aren’t easy for any organization, but strong leadership and honesty are critical ingredients in successfully getting through a challenging moment, or even a major reorganization.

Challenge: Do you tell the truth? The whole truth? A partial truth? A preferred truth? A blatant lie? Spend one week telling only the truth. Be straightforward, but also take care to be thoughtful, kind, and direct. Pause as needed to gather your thoughts prior to speaking. Note your experiences and feelings in a journal at the end of each day. Do you find truth-telling liberating? Do you want to continue along this path?

Julie Rosenberg, MD is a pediatric oncologist and global healthcare leader who has worked for nearly 25 years in service to patients with cancer. Through years of working with individuals with life-threatening and life-limiting disease, she has become passionate about helping people achieve optimal health, wellness and life-satisfaction. In addition to working as a pharmaceutical executive, Dr. Rosenberg is an executive coach who helps leaders develop themselves, their teams and embrace conscious living. Julie has devoted the last 16 years to the in-depth study and practice of yoga. Her work demonstrates that the millennia-old physical, mental, and spiritual discipline of yoga not only supports good health and wellbeing, but also helps to strengthen one’s personal and professional leadership skills. In 2017, Julie was selected from among 16,000 applicants by Number 1 Executive Coach and Leadership Thinker, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, as one of the MG 100, a group of over 100 leading coaches, thinkers and senior business leaders, each of whom is committed to paying it forward. Her first book, Beyond the Mat has been called “transformative”, “insightful”, “practical”, “accessible”, “creative”, and more. She is a highly sought-after speaker, executive coach and committed patient advocate.

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