Conscious Communicator Tip #27I Was Wrong & 10,000 Business Professionals Were Correct (< 280 words)

When I first wrote my white paper on The 7 Deadliest Sins of Leadership & Workplace Communication in the spring of 2011 I placed these interpersonal communication mistakes in no particular order of importance or severity.

At the time, I believed no one of the seven were any more detrimental to organizational performance than the others.

Well, I was wrong.

After delivering my seminar on The 7 Deadliest Sins of Leadership & Workplace Communication to more than 10,000 business professionals in the two years since publishing the white paper has convinced me that there is one more detrimental than the other six.

(If you haven’t yet read this report, I encourage you to download your copy for free at )

It’s a “Lack of Directness & Candor!”

In the first edition of the report this communication sin was buried in the third position. In version 2.0 that I released in the fall of 2012, it is now in seventh position.

I placed it at the very end because its best to leave the reader or workshop attendee with this communication sin as the last impression and the one they remember most prominently.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be discussing this communication sin, outlining the variety of ways it manifests in the workplace, and how many organizational leaders enable this communication sin to perpetuate.

So, in preparation for this mini-series, I’d like to hear from you and what your experience is with regard to a “Lack of Directness and Candor” in your organization, and how it is a problem for you and your co-workers or employees.

Please leave a comment below and start a discussion on this issue so we can begin to turn around this epidemic of poor communication habits in the workplace.

’til next time,




P.S. – For a list of all Power Words in the Conscious Communicator Series click here

6 thoughts on “Conscious Communicator Tip #27I Was Wrong & 10,000 Business Professionals Were Correct (< 280 words)

  1. Jay Hansen says:

    Let’s just call it Lying! It will destroy a relationship more quickly than anything else because it destroys trust. When the lie is discovered for what it is, a barrier is created bretween the parties where every communication that follows will have to penetrate the question, “Is this another lie?”

  2. Kristina Fischer says:

    I was struck by your comment concerning “directness and candor”. We are in an age where being “politically correct” is much more important than being open and honest. I was recently chastized about telling someone that their report was going to be a day late due to a database being down, I guess it was considered better to just say nothing and for them to wonder where in the world their stuff was. So much for “transparency”! It is not always valued by management but the “spin” is. “”

  3. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Thanks for being inspired to leave a comment, I appreciate you adding to the conversation here.

    In my work I find that lying is just one context for a lack of directness and candor. There are many others as I will be pointing out in the ensuing weeks, so stay tuned. As a matter of fact, often a lack of directness and candor involves being very truthful but to the wrong individual because we are not dealing directly with the person we should be.

    Again, thank you for your contribution and please come back again.
    Best Regards,

  4. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Thank you for your thoughts on this subject. Your situation is particularly disconcerting as it sounds as if you were trying to do the right thing and keep people abreast of the status of a situation. Yet, obviously, whomever was responsible for the database being down felt as if they were being called out and “thrown under the bus” so to speak, and were threatened by it.

    Depending on how you delivered the information and to whom, they could be correct in feeling that way. This often is a self-esteem issue and unfortunately, we cannot control how others will react in these situations and we just need to be sure we communicate directly to and with the right people, in a prompt, direct and respectful manner in doing the right thing.

    Thanks, again for contributing here and please come back again and add value to our discussion.

    Best Regards,

  5. Laurel Miller says:

    Lack of Candor in direct communications is a life changer! — and it rarely changes lives for the better.

    In one particular case, a Vice President level leader was removed from his role as his efforts created more waste than results. His peers and managers shared with me that they had ‘nudged, hinted, and showed’ this leader where changes were needed. When no changes were made, the he was removed in a very visible, disruptive manner. (He was given a smaller role in a different department.)

    When speaking with this individual later, the he was completely mystified. He made comments like ‘why didn’t anyone let me know what was wrong?’ and ‘no one even told me that there were deficiencies.’ He was completely devastated and felt betrayed when he was reassigned.

    Not a single person involved in this situation is incompetent, stupid, or lacking in the ability to pick up on social clues. The message was never stated clearly with candor. Therefore, the message was never received. There were massive amounts of dissatisfaction, frustration, and anger and entire teams were disrupted.

    This communication sin isn’t limited to junior leaders. The manager of this leader is a seasoned professional with years of experience. His peers are also seasoned managers with extraordinary capabilities as leaders. The individual involved is himself a leader with years of experience dealing with people. Yet everyone involved avoided the candid discussion — taking drastic action only after the situation had become intolerable.

    We owe it to ourselves, our families, our peers, and our organizations to practice candor in our communications.

    Good choice in making this your capstone communications skill, Skip.

    Avid Follower

  6. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. That is a great and unfortunate story, that plays out daily in too many organizations (and families).

    As I told a prospective client this morning, being non-direct and communicating without candor is not helping the individual in the long run. The challenge is few people have the skills and the self-esteem to communicate properly to make direct, candid communication work. That is my mission and purpose in life to help people become better at it.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

    Best Regards,

Comments are closed.