Sincerity and openness – are they “in” at work?

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Last Updated on March 22, 2019 by Lucie Klabanová

Some days ago, I became a bit frustrated. I was listening to a colleague who was complaining about the way of working of another our colleague, explaining me what is that she actually does not like.

Then she smoothly continued to a complaint about a different colleague.

And so, I asked myself, why we, people, actually do tend to complain about someone to someone else?

To complain to John about Peter is like beating a dead horse. Or do we have a feeling that by saying it loud the situation will actually improve? Well, we might get a bit of relieve, for a moment. But it does not solve the situation.

Why we actually have a problem to say to someone, directly face to face, what we think and rather choose the useless action of complaining to a third party?

I have read somewhere that a boss is as good as many unpleasant conversations he has per day. I see a big truth in it. If everything works, no problems appear, anyone can be a good boss. But such state is never for long. And only then he will get a chance to show how he can handle a problem. I think it is valid for everyone, not just bosses.

I have a sneaky feeling that we have lost (both in work and private life) the ability to openly speak about what worries us.

It is highly likely the main reason is our fear. As in many other things in life he is preventing us to do the most natural thing – speak about the problem directly.

  • We are afraid to look to someone’s yes and be sincere

  • We have a fear that he will see the complaint as an attack to his person

  • We are worried we will not be able to share what actually makes us crazy

  • We fear to make someone angry

  • We are afraid we might lose our job

  • We are scared…

I do not want to give a manual here how to fight with fear. You can find inspiration in many nice books, such as The Secret from Rhonda Byrne.

But please, try to be open to each other at work and speak about what distracts and worries you. You will in most situation improve the status by that, only few chances are it will worsen after that.

Few tips:

  • Agree meeting with the colleague. Always only you two.

  • Prepare for an unpleasant discussion with your colleague (subordinate, boss) very carefully.

  • Write down points about what really worries you. Is it a personal feeling? It is ok. You are human being, it is your right.

  • Be factual and calm. Prevent any “theater”. That would make it just bad. Keep calm even when the other side is trying to dramatize. You are prepared, handle the discussion.

  • Make it clear that this is no attack, but an effort to solve a problem.

  • Give the counterpart space to show his point of view and explanation. Sometimes just filling in the missing information can bring additional understanding.

  • Do admit your mistakes in the matter. Take them to your heart.

  • Close the meeting with summary, mutual agreement on what you will work on and what the other side should change.

If you keep the mentioned rules, each open discussion will be enhancing both of you. People cannot change upside down, but sometime they just do not realize things, until someone tells them clearly. Like that, they cannot work on themselves even if they would like to.

Help them. And be grateful yourself if anyone is helping you the same way.

I am a mentor, leader and pioneer of business process improvement. I help companies and individuals to find effective ways to achieve their goals. More about me you can find here>>

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