I am honest. I can say that today without even a slight twinge of dishonesty. But I couldn’t have written those words to you a year ago. I would like to tell you that I’ve always been truthful, but in my heart I know there are times when I have failed to approach an issue because I knew it would be a difficult exchange. It’s hard to be kind and be honest.
I learn something new at work almost every day. But it’s a series of “happenings” at our office over the past year that have taught me one of my most important lessons: We must be honest with one another 100% of the time. No holding back because of fragile egos, cherished friendships, or fear of flight.
Being the sensitive soul that I am on the one hand and a hard-driving entrepreneur on the other, my honesty meter was binary: I either turned it off—not wanting to hurt someone—or I blew a fuse, allowing the truth to cut like a knife. Recognizing that my approach failed to communicate my expectations and to provide guidance for future success, I devised a new approach—that so far—is working like a charm.
Because now, I come prepared.
Earlier this year, to best assess each team members’ job performance, I met with separate managers and team members to gain a 360-degree view of each person’s performance. As we met, the reviewing team also heard my honest feedback. We were on a quest for truth.
Taking the combination of facts, I spent the next 60 days developing detailed reviews consisting of tangible observations and concrete examples to provide each team member with an honest assessment of their job performance. As I prepared these reviews, I prayed earnestly for discernment and truth. As the reviews formulated, my prayers were for our team members to receive their review for what it was designed to be: a catalyst for their professional growth. And then I prayed that every truthful word out of my mouth would be kind. There’s a reason why the Bible states so often, “Practice kindness”. It’s a hard thing to master.
Sixty days of thought, preparation, and prayer. That’s what it required for me to be speak the truth in love.
I share this with you because I think that honesty is often the undoing of many relationships, both professional and personal, because we fail to invest the time we need to discern the facts; develop the message; position the opportunity for improvement; and to embark on the exchange in the spirit of kindness.
I love being honest but, to be honest with you, I love being kind, more. Now that I know I can do both, I will continue to.