Last week, I was at lunch with a group of women writers. We were discussing the state of the world and one woman said “Wouldn’t it be great if we had one month where no one could tell a lie?”
A month of truth! I was struck by her statement and thought about the workplace. Can you imagine a month in your organization where this was done? Everyone could speak only the truth. What do you think would ensue?
It certainly is a worthwhile exercise to consider this. It may uncover “truths” about your work that you already know and can act on. Imagine a month of truth at your work. Consider what and who might be different. How would you be different? Take what you learn and apply it. It can only make things better.
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There’s a lot involved in being authentic. It is about being true to yourself, being transparent and speaking your truth. Is authenticity valued at your workplace? Do others want to hear from you? A lot can interfere with authenticity in the workplace. You may want to maintain an “image” that you believe can lead you to success. You may value emotional intelligence as an essential factor in teamwork and collaboration and allow it to influence your authenticity in certain situations. You may discern that speaking your truth does not serve you. Where do you draw the line between your authenticity and the nature of your workplace?
Whether you can be authentic at work is a question that you have to answer. It is worth paying attention to so that you do not lose yourself as you work.
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Our culture reveres winning. Not a bad thing if winning is done fairly and well. However, winning alone has become a common pursuit. We have to go back to core societal values of truth, mutual respect, ethics and the greater good. Winning alone has its problems. It does not have to be based in facts, ends are more important than means and the desired outcome is self-serving.
When a culture reveres winning alone, winning is pursued at all costs. It harms societies and the organizations we work in – people are harmed, truth is not revealed and future actions and perceptions are often based on falsities.
What do you think about winning alone?’
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Reality: the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.
Are your life and actions aligned with reality? You may say reality is a downer. It can be, but it is the best place to start from. Reality does not limit you or dictate your next steps. It just needs to be factored in, so that your choices come both from truth and the present moment.
Say that you are in what looks like a lose-lose situation at work. Do you pretend what is happening isn’t there? Or do you look carefully at the reality of what exists and find your way through it? I think the latter. When you align with reality, no matter how bad things are, you actually are in a very powerful place. Truth sets you free.
photo: Danilo Rizzuti, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I regularly find myself wishing that people could get to “the truth of it” more often than they do. In organizations, there is an overabundance of hidden agendas, talking around things, not getting to the point, sidebar conversations and reluctance to address things directly. Much of this comes down to manipulation – truth does not serve someone’s purpose – or fear- if you speak the truth, you may get burned.
Of course there is risk in speaking the truth, but organizations could create cultures and environments that minimize this risk. In doing so, they will find that efficiency and collaboration increases. What are some ways to advance a message that truth is welcome? Develop some guidelines for positive communication. I found the book Crucial Conversations to have good advice on how to communicate positively on sensitive subjects. Do not admonish or penalize team members for speaking the truth. Expose manipulative action and agendas and let team members know they are not welcome.
In many organizations, these are huge changes and blithely telling the truth without a supportive culture does have risks. Start slowly and go step by step. If you can get upper management’s attention on this, do it. Cultivate a truthful culture for your own team. Start in non-threatening ways. For example, creating a safe environment for honest feedback.
There is wisdom in the phrase that the truth shall set you free. Go for “the truth of it” in your organization.