Steven Gaffney’s Communication Blog

Do You Value Honesty in the Workplace?

Steven Gaffney discusses the Value of Honesty in the Workplace with Ernie Anastatos on Fox News in NYC. Are 91% of people liars because they do not feel comfortable in being completely honest with people about issues they see? Listen in on how rewarding honesty and why creating a safe environment will encourage open communication.

Want to weigh in with your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you on Twitter. Feel free to Tweet me @Steven_Gaffney .

Not All Assumptions are Bad

Part 3 of “The Truth About Lies” series. Steven Gaffney shares tips to transform your organization and take it to the next level by helping leaders lead through change, avoid being blind-sided by issues, improve teamwork collaboration, build better relationships internally and externally, inspire people to have more open communication and get things done.

Want to weigh in with your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you on Twitter. Feel free to Tweet me @Steven_Gaffney .

What would you do if…?

Part 2 of “The Truth About Lies” series.

Steven Gaffney shares tips to transform your organization and take it to the next level by helping leaders lead through change, avoid being blind-sided by issues, improve teamwork collaboration, build better relationships internally and externally, inspire people to have more open communication and get things done.

Want to weigh in with your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you on Twitter. Feel free to Tweet me @Steven_Gaffney.

Teams Win Championships

These next few weeks will be filled with tons of insight on how you can become a changed champion through my new mini-series “The Truth About Lies.” Do you want to learn how to accomplish so much more working together as a team? Watch this short video below and share it with your team!


“The Empowering Truth About Being Unhappy”

Many of us will only boast about our successes at work before we admit the challenges that we have to face to get there. There is an innate human need for self-promotion, recognition and acknowledgement, and while we are the best promoters of ourselves, we have to remember to ask ourselves, “Where is this coming from?”

Often times, this comes from a place of insecurity, and while it is okay to acknowledge ourselves; there must be balance in the way we speak of ourselves. Secondly, there must be sincerity. It is okay to share when things are not going as planned; or when you didn’t get that promotion you were hoping for;  or when troubles are hindering you from moving forward. Happiness is not defined by your current situation, yet is an outward attitude of expression toward your everyday challenges. We can choose to be happy, we can choose to be humble, and we can choose to be genuine about our everyday circumstances at the same time.

I challenge you to be open with those around you. We are so used to the formality of language. We are trained to respond with, “I’m doing great! Thanks!” when someone asks, “How are you doing?” and that is why we have to consciously choose to be genuine in our everyday interactions and communication with others.

How Tom Brady Could Benefit from Proactive Honesty

We live in a society that regularly distorts the truth about others without any sufficient evidence of what is real or not. Such was the case with the Tom Brady “Deflategate” Controversy.

Last week, I was invited to News Channel 8 to talk about Tom Brady, professional sports and proactive honesty. Proactive honesty means using full disclosure to bring issues to light instead of letting silence do the talking. In the absence of data, people usually make things up and oftentimes, that means moving to a more negative space.

Watch the interview to learn my take on “Deflategate” and to find out more about proactive honesty and why it matters.

Want to weigh in with your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you on Twitter. Feel free to Tweet me @Steven_Gaffney about your feelings on Tom Brady, honesty in professional sports and the idea of proactive honesty.

One Helpful Tip to Inspire and Motivate Others

Motivating others to change can be a difficult task at times. You may bump up against people who are resistant to change, who are content where they are or who simply don’t see the benefit or value in making a move in another direction.

Inspiring others to take action is easy when you know how to approach the situation. One of the primary differences between someone who can inspire others and someone who can’t is their perspective.

Watch this video to learn one helpful tip to inspire and motivate others. When you’ve finished watching the video, Tweet out one tip you learned from the video and be sure to tag me – @Steven_Gaffney – so that I can see the benefit you saw in motivating others.

Beware of These 5 Communication Myths


Myth #1: Time Heals All Wounds

The truth is, that time usually deepens wounds. If time really healed all wounds, people would not blame their behavior on their childhood and past events as they often do. In fact, time can deceive us into thinking that problems with others have been resolved, but all it takes is to see them again or something to remind us of those previous unresolved issues and we will become upset all over again. In essence, our unresolved past is lying around waiting to strike us in the present.

What to do? Do not rationalize by thinking, “Well, they are not saying or bringing it up, so I will just let it go.” Just because they are not bringing it up does not mean that they have let it go. They may feel awkward or embarrassed or they may not know how to bring it up so they have decided to bury it. The key is to proactively bring up issues and resolve them.

Myth #2: Don’t Rock the Boat

The truth is, if you don’t rock the boat, the boat will probably sink. Faced with an issue or problem that is bothering us, many people rationalize, “I am not going to say anything. It is not that big of a deal. I don’t want to rock the boat.” The problem with this way of thinking is if we don’t say anything, the issue is unlikely to be resolved. Then what was once a small issue may fester and grow into a big problem.

What to do? As stated above, proactively bring up issues as they happen.

Myth #3: Be Diplomatic

The truth is, if we are too diplomatic, the point we are trying to make will not get across and nothing will get resolved. Have you ever had someone claim that they told you something, but you really don’t remember or didn’t understand the message they were trying to send? This happened because the message being conveyed to you was so subtle that you missed the point.

What to do? When we have to communicate an issue, bringing it up in a respectful way is important, but make sure the issue and what you want done is clear and direct.

Myth #4: Sandwich What You Really Want to Say Between Two Compliments

The truth is, the “sandwich method” is so obvious that people immediately identify the strategy and feel manipulated. The sandwich method is when you place what you really want to say between two positive compliments. “I appreciate how hard you work, but blah, blah, blah… and thank you for working with me on this.” This communication trick can permanently damage relationships.

What to do? Tell people the truth. People are smart, but we are lousy actors, so be honest and clear. If you have issues, talk about them and get right to the point. When you have something nice to say, bring it up in a conversation unrelated to the problem so you can get the most benefit out of the conversation.

Myth #5: More Communication Leads to Resolution

The truth is, simply having more communication can lead to wasting time and possibly more misunderstandings. Sometimes it is believed that the more people talk about something, that easier the message will emerge from the sheer volume of information. But how often have you been in a meeting where people “talked about things” and nothing got resolved.

Consider this: if the solution were simply to increase communication, wouldn’t you expect that the increase in e-mail, cell phone use, and video conferencing would have significantly reduced communication problems? In spite of all of these extra tools now accessible to us, it seems that there are more misunderstandings, mistakes, and conflicts than ever before. And people still complain that they don’t receive the feedback they need to do their jobs properly.

In fact, communication technologies can also help people spread misinformation with blazing speed, sometimes leading to devastating results. Communication technology is not inherently bad. However, the way people use it is often ineffective. Increasing the amount of communication through multiple channels is not the answer.

What to do? Instead of just increasing the amount of communication, make sure that people know how to effectively use the different methods to communicate. These methods can make the critical difference in successfully resolving issues as they arise.

Take Action

Pass this tip on to people you care about; your co-workers, your boss, your employees, your family and friends. Use it as a basis to talk to the people around your office, in your organization, and your personal life. Have an upfront conversation about the “myths of communication” and assess what everyone is willing to do differently. This way everyone will benefit from the knowledge and wisdom we all have to contribute.

Create Moments of Honesty Every Day

Last week I was invited to appear on Good Day DC to celebrate National Honesty Day. We had a great conversation about honesty and the impact it has on both personal and professional relationships.

Here are just a few of the things that we talked about during the interview:

  • Why the unsaid is often more harmful than the things that are being said
  • The reason the “sandwich method”, often used to deliver criticism, is manipulative and what to do instead
  • Why appreciation is something we need to practice on a much more regular basis

Although National Honesty Day is now behind us, we want to encourage you to create moments of honesty every day. Getting the unsaid said, appreciating each other more and being honest in our communication will lead to more successful relationships and business interactions.

Watch the interview and, once you’ve had a chance to tune in, Tweet your thoughts to me at @Steven_Gaffney with the hashtag #HonestyEveryDay.

National Honesty Day, April 30th

National Honesty Day brings us a healthy reminder to examine your current level of honesty. This holiday challenges people to evaluate just how honest they are.

Lying is not just about making false statements. It also encompasses everything that is conveniently left out, avoided or withheld. In my nearly 20 years’ experience advising top government leaders and Fortune 500 executives on increasing the bottom line through open, honest communication, I have seen the mounting costs of such withholding.

A survey of 1,000 adults reported in James Paterson and Peter Kim’s book, “The Day America told the Truth,” found that 91% of people lied routinely. I like to add that the other 9% probably lied when surveyed.

Open, honest communication is often the antidote to the hidden costly problems that inhibit organizations’ teamwork, collaboration, innovation and growth. This National Honesty Day, try it out. Discover the opportunities honest communication brings in both your professional and personal life.

If you struggle from withholding the truth, there are a few things you can do to change your behavior and in turn change your life. I invite you to take that challenge today, National Honesty Day, in discovering the hidden truths in your life.

Watch this video clip from Fox News for practical advice on how to incorporate more honesty in your relationships, company or work place.

I’d also love to hear from you on Twitter or over on our Facebook page. I want to know how your honesty day went and what you learned from it.