Steven Gaffney, author of "Honesty Works! Real-World Solutions to Common Problems at Work and Home," says that cutting corners on the truth almost always ends badly.
What are some of the worst lies?
The lies we tell ourselves are the worst lies, such as "I am going on a diet/exercise program" or "I will call that person I am having a problem with." You can easily tell this is happening when you declare you are going to do something and the voice inside on you is saying, "Are you kidding?" Lies to ourselves undermine our confidence, and in return undermines others' confidence in us. This is broken down by our ability to keep our word through being honest and making a conscious effort to change. We can also give those around us permission to challenge us when we do not hold ourselves accountable, and even decide on consequences in advance if things still don't change. Remember, following through on those consequences is key, and make sure you choose a consequence to which you are actually willing to commit.
What's the best policy in dealing with distortion, rumors and hearsay?
We must remember that hearsay information is always distorted. We don't know which part is distorted and which element is the truth. According to our research, one person removed can be easily off by six times from the original version. Also, people don't listen. We add extra words, interpret and misconstrue what we think we hear to the point where the message actually being sent to us is completely different from our own understanding. So the answer is to check out our facts by going directly to the source, repeat and summarize what we hear, and encourage others to support and talk directly with one another. If we accept the fact that information does and will get distorted, we can develop ways to make everyone's lives easier and be far more productive.
What about honestly in delivering bad news?
Address the fact that you have bad news so you are preparing the person to hear what you have to say. Stick with the facts and distinguish those facts from your opinions. As a general rule of thumb, come prepared to share potential ideas or solutions to fix it. That usually helps the other person deal with the situation better. When you actually deliver the news, deliver it immediately, before someone else gets around to saying it, so you can put yourself ahead of the curve on bad information. No one likes bad news, but honesty and trust foster the environment needed to deliver it effectively.
How can one effectively share personal viewpoints?
According to our research through coaching many professionals, most important is to acknowledge that a personal viewpoint is an opinion and we could be really wrong. What turns people off is if we communicate our opinions as if they are facts and we become self-righteous about our point of view. Our opinions, judgments and conclusions are exactly that. Reminding yourself and others of this can be really helpful in effectively sharing those points of view. If you discover that you could have improved upon the situation, you can also suggest one thing you could have done differently or make a request based on how you think the issue could have been resolved. This allows everyone to focus most of their time on the most important part of the conversation resolution.
Dawn House Steven Gaffney, author