Candour in workplace communication

Different kinds of writing have accounted for how to promote efficiency in the workplace environment. In all of the academic and social reports, communication has always been highlighted as a key factor in achieving proficiency. However, communication is not enough in itself. People can decide to talk, yet be insincere. On these grounds, I shall be discussing candour as an instrument of communication and how it can be instrumental in achieving efficiency in the workplace.

Candour, for starters, is the quality of being open and honest. It involves being frank. Collins Dictionary defines it as honesty and straightforwardness of speech or behaviour. In view of this, any leader who wants the best for his/her group or organisation has to develop a culture of candour. This culture helps workers to speak openly, generously and honestly. It can also be adopted in other human settings such as the family and religious assemblies.

A culture of candour is not intended to expose other persons’ mistakes or to point accusing fingers at people every time they err; a culture of candour involves everyone being regarded as a voice that should be heard without bias. It, as a result, has to do with helping, mentoring and looking out for one another through openness, sincerity and frankness which help prevent people from making the same mistakes over and over again.

Candour helps to achieve cohesion which results in organisational growth and significant output. It makes the free flow of communication possible and takes away the fear that sets in when a junior colleague must make a suggestion up the ladder. Without candour in a business or any other form of human structure, it is usually considered risky to be open and visible, even when people have ideas that could have a positive effect on the structure. In effect, candour takes away the fear of being disregarded, disrespected or shunned when one has anything to say.

Moving on, there are attitudes expected when one is offering candour. Thus, Erin Cross proposed the following techniques in offering candour.

1. Be humble and never aggressive.

2. Be helpful and constructive, and never critical.

3. Give guidance immediately and never wait for later.

4. Be a human being and never robotic or uncaring.

On the other hand, there are attitudes also expected of anyone receiving candour, and they are as follows:

1. Be appreciative and never defensive.

2. Be open to new ways of thinking and never close-minded.

3. Give yourself time to reflect and never give excuses.

4. Be supportive of the person offering guidance and never challenge their intention.

Again, there are tips for achieving a culture of candour; the first of them is giving people the privilege of explanation. Whilst it is not compulsory to implement every submission given, everyone deserves the chance to explain his/her position. Also, guidance should be preferred to feedback.

Even when a person’s position is not logical enough or not well articulated, what should follow is a guide so that such a person does not feel uneasy when speaking up next time. In his distinction, Erin Cross submits that guidance comes from caring and respect, whereas feedback comes from a place of dominance and power.

One other way to achieve a culture of candour is through a sense of togetherness. Togetherness will help members of an organisation or a group overcome fear, learn to rely on one another, and simply put a stop to whatever stands in the way of greater morale and productivity. Members of a team or an organisation must always remind themselves that, usually, a cohesive team will achieve much more than individual effort.

Notably, there are a number of contributions on how to deploy candour effectively. The first among them is awareness about one’s culture and the culture of others. Sometimes, there is the need to understand the cultural factors that affect and influence people’s perception of others. For instance, greetings, respect and etiquette are expressed in different ways across cultures. All of these must be factored in when applying candour so it does not go wrong.

Also, ask people if they would want feedback. Since it is unlikely for them to say “no”, seeking their consent puts them in a better psychological position to sincerely process such feedback. Note, too, that candour should often be used for motivation. A leader should not be known to only deploy candour when others err. It can also be applied to motivate others when they have delivered well.

In conclusion, being candid helps us achieve the essence of communication. Hence, candour must be meticulously deployed with its intricacies.

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