On Truth & Candor
“Candor is the key to collaborating effectively. Lack of candor leads to dysfunctional environments.” – Ed Catmull
Last year, The New York Times had a creative campaign that ran across a number of different mediums. It was called “The Truth is Hard” and it basically defined the truth as a present-day commodity.
It looked and sounded something like this –
The truth is hard.
The truth is hidden.
The truth must be pursued.
The truth is hard to hear.
The truth is rarely simple.
The truth isn’t so obvious.
The truth can’t be glossed over.
The truth has no agenda.
The truth can’t be manufactured.
The truth doesn’t take sides.
The truth isn’t red or blue.
The truth is hard to accept.
The truth pulls no punches.
The truth is powerful.
The truth is under attack.
The truth is worth defending.
The truth requires taking a stand.
The truth is more important than ever.
For all of the reasons above and certainly more, it’s often hard to believe what we’re seeing, hearing or reading. Now more than ever, opinions are positioned as fact and sometimes it seems like no matter how deep we dig, we can’t seem to come up with the truth – sometimes it’s hard not to wonder whether we even want it.
But it’s important to remember where the perception of fearing the truth comes from, especially in the workplace.
When we aren’t completely honest, more often than not we’re holding back out of fear – a fear that we’re not taking the right side, that we’ll lose power in a situation, or that we’ll be isolated for saying what someone else won’t.
But as the NYT so eloquently put it, The truth is more important than ever.
The difficulty in reaching the truth is something I think leaders deal with often, but it’s our job, or better stated, our obligation to change ideas around being yourself and telling the truth at work. This is just one of the many reasons I place emphasis on our Core Value #9: To Deliver Transparent, Open and Honest Communication.
For me this, isn’t just an important value, but the way I choose to live my life.
Many people are functioning in direct contradiction to the idea that transparency is empowering at work, but our culture here at Roma revolves around a clear exchange of thoughts, because time has taught me that being truthful alleviates stress and anxiety. If we aren’t willing to embrace the value of being candid, we are actively perpetuating a cycle of misinformation, impacting expectations and more importantly, our ability to find the right solutions.
This makes truth in the workplace something we need much more of. And as leaders, we can see the positive correlation between confidence and performance when people aren’t fearful that a misfire means the end of their career or animosity between peers and management.
So, if you’re ever wondering whether you should sugar coat something or fluff it up – don’t. People are better off knowing the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Whether it’s a colleague, your manager, CEO or your best friend – the truth will rarely lead you astray.
The cold hard facts tell us exactly where we stand and equip us to make educated decisions, whether we’re looking at financial projections, hiring a new employee, or making an important life decision.
Nothing but the absolute truth will lead to real, measurable success.