It’s striking how often middle level to senior people in organisations say they doubt the ordinary folk will feel safe speaking frankly about the business and what they see needs attention in front of top management.
Where that sentiment exists—and it’s more the rule than the exception—it’s a reflection of flawed leadership.
One of the things that reticence breeds, of course, is a frustration with senior management and a tendency for some individuals to be excessively critical when, for whatever reason, they do open up. That then is very likely to elicit a crushing response, which reinforces the problem.
Here’s the thing…
Without honesty in the organisation, it can’t really learn and it’s likely eventually to over-reach itself when the decision makers become too insulated from the truth. We can probably all think of prominent corporate examples, past and present, though smaller organisations can be just as afflicted.
It would be more comfortable if everyone had the communication skills and poise to express their point fairly and unemotionally, but not everyone does.
It’s worth enduring the overdone criticism to hear the precious truth within.
Can people speak the truth in your organisation?
Are you sure they can speak the truth to you?
Can you hear it when they do?