There’s a show on TV called To Tell the Truth. In the show, three guests all claim to be the same person. One is the real person and the other two guests stretch the truth – ok they lie – throughout the show trying to convince viewers and the three celebrity judges that they are someone they are not. It is amazing how convincing some of the guests are at lying. At the end of the show, the show host exclaims, “Would the real ‘Mr. Smith’ please stand up?”

Most of us don’t always tell the truth. We may not outright lie, but we’re often not completely truthful with everyone.

Here are a few work scenarios for which someone may not be completely truthful.

1.     You are asked after a very mediocre presentation to give some feedback to the presenter, and you say, “You did a nice job” when there are rather obvious areas for improvement.

2.     A colleague asks you to read a report before they submit it. And after reading it and seeing multiple issues you say, “I think it’s fine.” when it’s not.

3.     A young co-worker wants to interview for a management position but is clearly not ready. They come to you for advice. To avoid potentially hurting their feelings you encourage them to apply without offering wise counsel.

It’s my belief that we should tell the truth all the time. If you add the words in love at the end –tell the truth in love – you can both honor the person asking for input while also honoring yourself. Telling the truth in love is being kind, it’s being helpful, it’s being honest, and it’s the right thing to do.

So, after that mediocre presentation instead of saying, “You did a nice job,” you might say, “There were aspects of the presentation that I would communicate differently. I would be happy to offer my thoughts if you would find that helpful.” And when giving feedback on the report that needs work replace, “I think it’s fine,” with, “If I were reading that report the way it was written, I might not be fully convinced. How can I help you re-think it so you can strengthen your position?”

Finally, to the young co-worker desiring to be promoted you might say, “Management in our organization can be challenging and requires a skill set that many have not mastered. I want to make sure you are successful before you apply for the job and I am happy to help in these ways.

Note that in all three examples above, I ask for permission to provide real, genuine feedback and help. It’s also important to realize that not everyone wants the truth, so I always offer, but limit giving my opinion unless someone specifically asks for it.

In the examples above, it only took a few minutes to think about an alternative way to say what needed to be said with love. If you look for it, you can be challenged regularly by telling the truth in a way that is honoring and helpful.

Will the REAL truth-teller please stand up?

#Pausitivity #Pause #LeadershipDevelopment #truthtelling


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