Monday, May 13, 2024


It may seem as if openness is the same thing as honesty, but there is a bit more to it. Being open is a two-fold characteristic. On the one hand, you want to be up front about your vision for your team, your plan for their success, and even, when appropriate, what changes may be in store. Sometimes you may be in a position of knowing something that’s going to happen, and the circumstances won’t allow you to inform your employees. However, if employees sense that something is about to happen, they can feel anxious. Since changes in work can affect a person’s livelihood, this anxiety cannot be overlooked or dismissed. Try to engage in empathy about the effect of keeping information from your employees. This can get tricky when trying to strike a balance between the needs of your employees and your bosses, but if you are operating from your own personal mission statement and using your own core values, then making tough decisions can actually be emotionally rewarding in that you get an opportunity to make a decision that will make you proud.

The other aspect of openness is being open to employees’ feedback and criticism. They may not always be correct in their criticism or concerns, but respecting your employees means giving them a fair hearing. When someone comes to you with a problem concerning what you are doing or how you are doing things, listen carefully. If you feel yourself getting angry or defensive, it’s possible that the employee has struck a nerve. You may not be in a place where you can immediately acknowledge the employee’s criticism. If that’s the case, schedule a follow-up that will allow you time to assess the concern and what you can do about it. Recent studies have found that people appreciate vulnerability in others far more than an appearance of perfection or invincibility, so don’t be afraid to admit when you are wrong or mistaken. This can actually make you a more respected and effective leader than if you demand respect by never apologizing or acknowledging your mistakes.

Until next time ...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

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