Time to get honest in the workplace…

Ok, so corporate jargon is something that plenty of us use each and every day without giving it too much thought.

Maybe you encourage a lot of ‘blue-sky thinking’, or perhaps you might suggest to your team that you ‘take things offline’ when you’d rather have a more private conversation about an important issue.

Or, a little disturbingly, you might occasionally (but hopefully not!), consider yourself to be ‘punching a puppy’ when you do something that you know won’t be too popular – a term that Forbes magazine pinpointed as being amongst the most annoying business slang.


Right now though, let’s take a minute or two to talk about the art of ‘managing expectations’ and honesty.

You might think that this is all about what happens directly within the workplace, but it’s actually much deeper, and it’s worth taking a little time to understand this. If, for example, an employee has money problems outside of the office, then the fact that you suggested when they were first recruited that they would have had a pay rise by now, is the type of thing that’s going to create some serious problems. However, it’s not just about the pay slip at the end of the month, it becomes about the everyday lives and worries and concerns of your employees.

Sure, the cause of the money problems might have absolutely nothing to do with you, and of course they’re almost certainly not your fault. But when you fail to manage expectations effectively, the impact can be far reaching. The working environment can amplify the issues, and put you in the position of taking the full blame.

So what’s the solution? It’s simple. Get radically honest, from the very beginning. You might think
that embellishing the truth a little is just part of attracting the best talent, but telling the truth from the offset is going to save you a whole load of time, money, and hassle.

  • If you specify a pay bracket, but new recruits start at the bottom and won’t progress for at least two years? Tell them that.
  • If working weekends is something that you expect of everyone, even those in higher positions? Make sure they know that in advance.
  • If budgetary constraints mean you won’t be giving out any cash bonuses in the near future? That’s fine, but for goodness’ sake , don’t try to paint a picture that suggests something different.

Your employees will respect you a whole lot more if you’re not living in a world of exaggeration, and if you’re really, ridiculously honest about your objectives, their role in the business and what’s likely to be achieved in the near and distant future. It’s about keeping them motivated to drive your business forward.

This isn’t about reducing your team’s hopes and dreams to dust. It’s about recognising both the positive and less-positive sides of leadership, acting with integrity and empathy, and ultimately, it’s about doing the right thing.

After all the right thing to do, is always the right thing to do.

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