Thoughts

Honesty matters

Every now and then, an article from LinkedIn catches my eye; mostly purely business-related.  However, today, perhaps having had a pleasant start of the day despite the usual morning rush that would normally get me all flustered, I came across a powerful piece written by Subir Chowdhury, author of the book, ‘The Difference [When Good Enough Isn’t Enough]‘.

Fine, maybe on another day the title of his book would have sent me running the opposite direction of his article because someone with an inadequacy issue cannot buy into the “When Good Enough Isn’t Enough” philosophy. I would be on a downward spiral in a flash. The title of the article hooked me; and it delivered, unlike many of those misleading titles that get you to the page only to realize that it’s bogus and the content, if any, is BS.

The Power of Honesty: Why Being Straightforward Matters

I believe in honesty. I believe that being straightforward matters a lot. I may not always be on track but I do my best.

I have heard of people like Nick. I probably even worked with some of these Nicks. I am NOT a Nick. I may be strict, even harsher than others, and I might be bitchy and callous at times. The job calls for that me. Outside of what needs to be done, I am nice; just nice. I’m not an easy person. I have my quirks and idiosyncrasies. I had to learn, and I did, to be this person that I am in order to survive and thrive in my world. I still cry. In fact, I easily cry. But I can fight.

I am like many; I just want to live my life well and to the fullest, preferably with more successes than failures, more joy than sadness, more peace than anger, and more love than hatred. Basically, like you!

We have countless choices presented to us on a daily basis and we must make decisions. We hope we are making the right ones.

We are responsible for the decisions we make, including the choice to embrace a caring mindset. In addition to being straightforward, a caring mindset requires us to be thoughtful, accountable, and to have resolve. Being straightforward needs to happen with every conversation and interaction that we have—with colleagues, bosses, and customers, friends and family. Without the ability and intent to be straightforward and honest, we cannot create and sustain a caring mindset, or achieve a healthy organization, family, or community.

Our ability to be straightforward suffers when we are afraid. This is true not only in business but in our schools and within our families. When we are afraid, openness and transparency decrease exponentially. We hide the truth, or fake our emotions. We strive to give a false impression to cover up the truth—about how good-looking we are, about how clever or competent we believe ourselves to be, about how much money we make. The result is that we live in a world of deceit and lose sight of the importance of being straightforward and honest.

Pride can cause people to be less straightforward. Ego is a serious problem in a lot of organizations. Too often, senior leaders don’t acknowledge their problems. And when they do, they hide them. “How can I tell others that I have a problem with that? They won’t respect me. They will think I’m weak.” Nick’s pride drove Audrey from the organization, and made a lot of other people around him miserable.

So often it is pride that discourages us from saying, “I don’t know.” When I am asked a difficult question about quality, and I don’t have an answer, it is incumbent on me to admit, “I don’t know.” I can imagine people thinking, “What the heck? You are supposed to be the quality expert.” And I am. But I am not omniscient. I am not a genius with all the answers. I’m confident enough to admit when I don’t know something. When I do, I work three times as hard to get the answer.

In my experience the most successful people are not afraid to say, “I don’t know.” They are not trapped by their pride.

When you are authentic, candid, and straightforward, not only will you be more successful, but you will be more fulfilled—and so will everyone around you. When you are afraid to admit to your failings, you live in fear. The counter to living in fear is to boldly and honestly say what you think—in other words, be straightforward. And the feeling of freedom that comes with that is exhilarating and liberating.

-Subir Chowdhury

I agree with the author!

What he wrote about his daughter also made me think about my relationship with my son. It could be that it is our business personas that demand that our children be like us, or even be better than us. I don’t expect my children to be perfect as I am not perfect but I might have expectations that do not match their unique personalities and capabilities.

My 21-year old son seems to have found something he is passionate about. He shoots, edits and publishes YouTube videos as “Skeye“. He’s a YouTuber. He thinks of ideas for his content. I can’t relate much to his videos but I accept that I belong to another generation and I have not been really “normal” or average. Our generation gap and the implications of the same shouldn’t stop me from giving him my full support, even if it means, sharing his videos and asking my people to subscribe and watch.

But I veered off topic there slightly, didn’t I? 🙂

I just really wanted to share the article. I hope you read it.

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9 thoughts on “Honesty matters

  1. When we were younger, pride and ego can be easily hurt if we admit wrong or not knowing…but as one matures, one learns to listen first before responding. And ask questions – and listen before responding. Not about – not knowing, but about information searching in a more sophisticated manner. Perhaps when senior management is young(er), then there migth be more of pride and ego?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s true. I do think that confidence and belief in oneself and own capability comes with time (age) and as we get older, we are (supposed to be) more comfortable with ourselves and our decisions and actions and we don’t need to prove ourselves. However, that is the generalization. There are some supposed mature individuals who still struggle with self-esteem (me many times) and pride and ego take over. I’d love to be fully in that space.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Indeed. I guess that’s why I sometimes referred to it as the sense of entitlement of the millenials, who excuse themselves by blaming the “protective” parents, which of course I don’t buy because my son didn’t get the same upbringing this one dude on TedEx was referring to. And excuse for raising brats. Lol!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Anne, what really struck me about the information you shared is the value of being straightforward, in the way of not hiding the message one needs to give, but to find a kind and caring way to deliver that message. For instance, I sometimes put off telling someone when I am not able to do something they’ve asked. (I’m getting better at it, but it still happens!) Yet the reality is that they can find another way to accomplish the task they’ve asked me to do, if needed, and the sooner I let them know, the sooner they can make other plans. So, thank you for sharing this message!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your input, Theresa. You are right. The “nice” people don’t want to be “ugly” for saying no yet the person requesting could have done it himself/herself.
      I really liked the article. I also have a problem with being straightforward at times but I’m definitely better at it that I get called names. Lol! I’m also too honest sometimes. For people close to me and I know well (and they know me well), I don’t even think I filter. Haha. I am tactful with people I don’t know and in business, I do my best to say what I want in the most civilized manner no matter how angry or frustrated I am. Through it all, I still don’t want people to think I am awful when I’m honest because I am not. 🙂 I’m just a little snobbish and there are not many people’s approval I want.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That all sounds very healthy, Anne! I know what you mean about sometimes filtering what one says. I just had an incident yesterday where someone asked me to redo something that had already been done, and at first my response was polite – “wasn’t this already done?” – but when a third party on the email insisted it be done, I sent a very terse reply that it had already been done. (two short sentences) – I could have been less “bare-bones” in my reply. But it ticked me off! (esp. in email!) Ah, well. As one gets older one seems less apt to filter. 🙂 :: HUGS ::

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hahaha. I was just thinking about the age aspect before I got to that part of your comment. It’s so true we filter less. Maybe we just have less time for BS and we don’t care so much about what others will say if we know we’re right. I still care but others say on other issues. I have decided not to take the BS and I am expressive about it. Otherwise, people abuse our silence. I think even my boss is strange to see that. 😛 I’m glad you stood by your position. Life in the working world is so much tougher than on my own writing, even when I struggle with my writing. ☺ Much love and hugs 💖🤗

        Liked by 1 person

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