I recently wrote about trust in the workplace as one of the significant contributors to employee loyalty and reduced turnover. That started me thinking about “Truth.” It is very closely related to trust. Do your employees trust you to tell them the truth?
Truth telling does not mean that you have to reveal every minute detail of the business operations and financial performance. Quite frankly, not all employees are equipped with the business acumen and the background knowledge to appreciate and understand the details of the operations. Telling the truth does mean, however, that you are honest in what you do share with your employees. Can your employees believe what you tell them? Can they count on your honesty?
If there is something going on in the business that you are legally or ethically bound not to share, say so. You don’t have to disclose the details, but if you say nothing is going on, but then act like something really big is happening, your employees will notice and you’ll lose their trust. Employees need to feel secure in their work environment. When they don’t know the facts, and sense turbulence, they assume (and fear) that the worst is going to happen. They then doubt the stability of the workplace and will look elsewhere for the security they need.
Being honest also means you trust your employees with the truth. Don’t sugarcoat. Don’t say things are rosy, if they’re not. You lose credibility and it’s a sure fire way to quickly disengage employees.
Suspicion, disengagement and high turnover—all costly to business financial health—are the consequences of leadership secrecy and dishonesty.
If you’ve encountered a leader who was less than honest or acted like everything was a big business secret (and you’re comfortable sharing your story), please comment.