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“Failure of an employee to speak up in a crucial moment cannot be seen. This is true whether that employee is on the front lines of customer service or sitting next to you in the executive board room. And because not offering an idea is an invisible act, it’s hard to engage in real-time course correction. This means that psychologically safe workplaces have a powerful advantage in competitive industries.”   
~ Amy C. Edmondson, The Fearless Organization

You may believe in honesty but not know how to help practice it or respond well in the face of it. Without a responsibility-based culture model, your ideal that honesty is the best policy may be an empty hope and lack to bring about positive impacts you wish to see. I witness people promoting honesty, authenticity and transparency without setting up conditions and conversations that ensure emotional safety and caring teamwork first. Without this, being honest can backfire and even cause significant damage, barriers and trauma despite positive intentions.  

Emotional safety is a when people feel and are safe taking chances and keeping things real. This is honesty without fear of being hurt socially, emotionally, financially or in status. When emotional safety is available, people feel accepted and important. Imagine you are encouraged to be open and honest without such safety. You feel out on a shaky limb if there are no guidelines to ensure trustworthiness, compassion, support and teamwork. Then honesty can also backfire, often significantly, giving it a bad reputation as being ineffectual, pointless and too risky. Unless you are aware of the kinds of professional behaviors that need to be in place to ensure psychological security and cohesive teamwork, being honest can be a naive hope gone wrong rather than a way to achieve desired results.  

As a business leader or influencer, your most important priority is to further guidelines that ensure personal and professional development, empowerment, and healing. To LifeWork Systems, this means your people need to experience a strong sense of belonging and significance so they cannot wander into shame spirals that otherwise too-often predominate. Frequently, conditions in many settings do NOT ensure safety, empowerment and healing. People mean well. They care. It’s just that unless outdated systems are modified or dismantled and replaced by what is effective, people will keep using them and get the same insane results.  

An ideal such as honesty is the best policy, in and of itself, does not guarantee a positive result. Only when you make it priority to create emotional and social intelligence skills and leading by purpose and personal responsibility can you gain the outcomes you want honesty to bring you and your people. Workplace practices must be ones that bring out the best in all people, provide each with consistent support, and make it safe for everyone to get and be honest so that creativity, resolution of challenges, achievement of goals and seeking and nurturing excellence all become the norm. Let me help you consider and adopt such conditions and conversations so that honesty IS the best policy in your business and life!

Why People Hire LifeWork Systems

Business owners, community leaders, and educators hire Lifework Systems because they want the advantages of an extraordinary workplace and recognize a systems approach ensures consistency and sustainability in the transformation process. They know that conscientious employees grow your business and improve your reputation, giving you competitive advantages. We help organizations instill into every person a common language and toolset for how to participate in a responsibility-based Teal workplace. Visit our website at www.lifeworksystems.com, and click the link at the bottom to complete a culture assessment and schedule your first consult to review a report on your feedback, all at no cost.  You can also contact Judy Ryan at 314.239.4727 or at judy@lifeworksystems.com.

This article was published in Autentico in October 2019