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Inspiring Thoughts from EAC

HOT Communication

You may have been taught these two concepts when you were young: 1) honesty is the best policy and 2) when you tell the truth you do not have to remember what you said. Both good rules to follow now that you are an adult. As author Betsy Brown Braun says in her book You’re Not the Boss of Me: “The plain truth is that honesty is critical to the moral fiber of every individual. Experts agree that people who are honest feel better about themselves. They are able to enjoy stronger friendships, are more successful in school and in other pursuits and, in the long run, have deeper, happier marriages. It is from honesty that so many other desirable traits spring forth.”

Trust develops when we are open with one another and people who trust one another, support one another. This past summer, I enjoyed watching the men’s gymnastics Olympic competition. The announcers often remarked how this team of young men supported one another throughout the Olympic trials and during at the events in London. The theme was “I’ve got your back”. No, they didn’t take the gold medal, yet they are still among the world’s top athletic teams. This doesn’t happen without open communication and trust.

In his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, management consultant, Patrick Lencioni, states that members of teams with an absence of trust work to conceal their weaknesses and mistakes from one another. They won’t ask for help or provide constructive feedback and may hold grudges. “Trust lies at the heart of a functioning, cohesive team” says Lencioni, “Without it, teamwork is all but impossible.”

One more saying you may have heard as a child was; “Don’t do as I do, do as I say.” That is an interesting statement, as we all know people (children or subordinates) are much more likely to model behavior as opposed to words. Your team observes your every move. As leaders, we need to model open, honest communication to build trust within our organization. An acronym you can use to evaluate your communication behavior is HOT – honest, open and timely. You can review meetings as well as conversations by simply asking if you told the truth, accepted feedback and presented the information at the appropriate time.

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