When I bought my business, I was mentored by Lindsay, the former owner. He told the truth and sometimes it stung.
Once, a client said, “I wish Jimmy Pattison could come in and run this business with me.” To which Lindsay replied, “The first thing he’d do is fire you.” I squirmed as did the client. And it opened up a very productive discussion about getting in the right seat as a business owner.
A commitment to telling the truth (kindly) is key to your work culture, and to the world around you too.
I know you’re trying to be nice when you hold back what you really think about your team member’s attitude or performance. But it’s going to backfire on you eventually, I promise you that. Truth is that which corresponds to reality. Your job is to keep reality and your team member’s perception of reality aligned.
Write down what you’re going to say. Practice it on a friend to get their feedback. But commit yourself to telling the truth. Candor is key to a healthy workplace.
This holds true for the world around us too.
During some of the most oppressive days of the former Soviet empire, writer and dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn challenged his countrymen to never “live by lies.”
Here were some of his rules:
1. Do not say, write, affirm, or distribute anything that distorts the truth
2. Do not take part in a meeting in which the discussion is forced and no one can speak the truth
3. Do not support journalism that distorts or hides the underlying facts
4. Walk out of any event where the speaker utters lies, or ideological drivel
Does any of this sound familiar? These rules were written in 1974.
Decide today that you’re going to be a truth teller.
“One word of truth outweighs the whole world” – Alexander Solzhenitsyn