Is honesty always the best policy? Mmmmmmmmmm……I say nope!
We may ask the question, “Do these pants make me look fat?”, but come on….we aren’t expecting to hear, “Yup! You look 25 pounds heavier”.
Let’s face it……sometimes we ask a question for reassurance, not validation.
“No….the pants fit really well!” In other words, the pants fit you and the you that they fit has not been judged as fat or thin.
Is it because we can’t handle the truth? No.
Is it important to always hear the truth? No
Should we ask others to be honest with us? Only if we are going to use the answer(s) to take action, make a change or shift a direction, otherwise……what is the difference?
Some might say, “If I don’t tell him/her the truth, who will?”
Hello!!!!! Did someone appoint you the truth police?
We send surveys out following an event to get honest feedback from attendees. We allow them to respond anonymously because we believe that it will encourage brutal honesty.
We send out surveys to our employees asking, “how are we doing?” and we allow them to submit them anonymously because we are desperate for feedback.
Why do we do this? Why do we ask our respondents to cloak themselves in anonymity before responding? Is it because we feel that we will receive better/more responses?
This frustrates me greatly.
This strategy removes accountability. It wipes away context.
Why would we encourage or even want “brutal” honesty. Brutal implies harsh, or unforgiving…..are we really asking for that? Chances are we will ask that question of someone who enjoys the brutality of the honesty far more than the honesty itself.
That is when honesty becomes unnecessary cruelty with no actionable follow through.
Personally, I like my honesty served in small bits and wrapped in bubble wrap. In large servings it can become like a wheatgrass smoothie, where after a few sips I get nauseated and need to lie down.
You might be thinking, “So…..you prefer to live in a fantasy world? A world filled with hugs and puppies and love and unicorns? You want to walk around with your head in the clouds?”.
No, I think that I value authentic and objective over blunt honesty.
I value feedback without qualifiers…..in other words, “no buts”.
I want you to always be fair with me in your feedback, creating an environment where I am certain of where I stand and what you deem my capabilities to be.
I don’t want a response that spews out because it has been bottled up under pressure.
Be real, but be gentle.