Why "Straight Talk" is Key for Effective Managers
Honesty is the best policy when you’re looking to build an organization that responds quickly to market challenges. Letting people know where they are and how they are doing leads to less confusion on required performance expectations. Employees who trust the honesty and accuracy of a manager’s opinion will be more open to future direction.
This kind of “straight talk” makes a manager more effective because accurate communication creates perception. Companies are collectives of people who share similarities in values, skills, and abilities. People who work within the same organization and receive the same messages eventually come to share the same perspectives. Economists call this type of collective thinking “bounded rationality” and say it helps a company function as a single unit through expectations and norms.
No Mixed Messages
Managers who engage in mixed messages and unclear conversations can cause confusion over proper work expectations and performance requirements. Managers who communicate in a clear and concise manner provide specific direction for performance improvement. Useful information will prompt employees to seek advice on a regular basis, thereby helping them internalize new expectations.
Being open and honest is a manager’s best attribute in performance driven departments. It is the accurate exchange of information that helps people learn from each other and build collective knowledge. The creation of new knowledge encourages adaptability in the workplace as people adjust and change their processes for higher levels of performance.
Keep Criticism Constructive
Consider how you learn and how accurate feedback pushes you to change and adjust to new challenges. With proper information people spend less time guessing at the best actions making the department more performance driven. Straight talk ensures everyone hears the same information and uses that information to create better plans of action.
Straight talk managers are not rude or inconsiderate of others’ feelings. They are accurate in their assessment and know how to transfer important information without damaging the integrity of the individual. Those managers who can master the ability to talk clearly, concisely, accurately, and are capable of addressing important issues, will find their departments adapting and growing. Learning organizations feed off of the focused direction managers provide to reach new heights of performance.
Written by Murad Abel, DBA, MBA
Dr. Abel is a faculty member of the Forbes School of Business® at Ashford University.
For more leadership advice, read “Stay Effective! A Quick Refresher for Managers” on Forward Thinking.