Conscious Communicator Tip #28 A Culture of Directness & Candor Has to Start at the Top of Organizations(< 315 words)

A number of comments to last week’s initial blog article on A Lack of Directness & Candor communication sin led me right into today’s.

So many organizations suffer unnecessarily from under-performing employees in the workplace because of this communication sin. It occurs at all levels of organization, even at senior leadership.

I had a conversation on Friday with a prospect who continually repeated the need for greater accountability and better performance from two significant revenue generating departments. He wanted me to create a “motivational” program to improve performance.

After listening for about 20 minutes I told him it sounded more like a problem with senior leadership needing to get on the same page strategically for the organization. I told him I thought they needed to engage in direct and candid discussions among themselves on setting a new strategic course for their company.

We’re meeting again to have that discussion next week.

Virtually every performance problem in an organization is related to a lack of directness and candor.

Few organizational leaders have the communication skills to promptly, directly & respectfully confront performance issues, and fewer can candidly address behavior issues effectively.

Failing to address both performance and behavior issues directly and candidly kills organizations. It becomes a cancer that rots organizations from the inside out, creating toxic work environments.

Its one thing for co-workers to talk behind each others’ backs, or to tattle-tale on co-workers for job security in stressful situations, but when the management allows it to occur, perpetuating the negativity, it is doubly damaging.

There are a few strategies that can solve this issue and after identifying some other ways a “Lack of Directness & Candor” manifest in organizations next week, I’ll discuss those turn around strategies.

Please leave a comment below to add your experience around the issue of a lack of directness and candor in the organizations in which you’ve worked.

’til next time,


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

3 thoughts on “Conscious Communicator Tip #28 A Culture of Directness & Candor Has to Start at the Top of Organizations(< 315 words)

  1. Florence says:

    Hi Skip,

    I thank you so much for this post.

    I read it just after a meeting with the head of a departement of the company. He was saying my instructions were not clear about some outputs I was expecting from his departement some few days ago. I was really angry with him and a asked him to plan an urgent meeting with his staff and I.

    Fortunately I read your post just before the meeting. and instead of pointing out the misperformance of the departement, I ask every one to help setting up good communication basis and codes for a better understanding of orientations, instructions and reports.

    If I were not aware of your post, I would surely have stressed the team without addressing the real problem.

    Thanks again for all the inputs in our workplace communication skills.


  2. L McNeil says:

    There is always the possibility of “back lash” when you are direct. How often do people ask you to tell them the truth – give it to them honestly – yet are offended when you do. I even find that employees are no longer willing to give honest input to performance evaluations for fear it will come back to haunt them. Too much time and energy is spent on “couching” the truth. It is sad and perhaps, as I’ve seen in other comments, a sign of the times.

  3. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Dear L,
    Thank you for your comments and I feel your pain. I agree with your assessment about the fear of backlash and employees no longer willing to offer candid feedback for those reasons.

    In my estimation, though, its an organizational cultural problem that is systemic and not necessarily the problem with the employees and managers. It starts at the top and at the beginning of the relationship.

    Initial performance expectations are poorly designed, developed and communicated, leaving too much ambiguity in what is expected and that is exacerbated by lack of a performance management/development program where effective coaching can be done on a regular, steady basis, that should start weekly and build the performance that is necessary.

    Too many organizations let people do their own thing and flounder, then they get zapped at the annual performance time and its no wonder people don’t respond well.

    That’s been my experience in virtually every situation in which I was brought in to improve employee motivation and performance.

    Thanks for stopping by and being inspired to leave a comment and add value to the discussion, please come back and comment again.

    Best Regards,

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