National Honesty Day is a great reminder to tell the truth, but it also forces us to confront the ugly truth about how honest others are being with us.
National Honesty Day arrives April 30, bringing with it a healthy reminder to examine your current level of honesty. The holiday was created so the month would end with focus on honesty after beginning by encouraging lies and deceit (April Fools’ Day). The holiday challenges people to evaluate just how honest they are. Be aware, though … you may be surprised by your findings.
A survey of 1,000 adults reported in James Patterson and Peter Kim’s book “The Day America Told the Truth” found that 91 percent lie routinely. I like to joke that perhaps the other 9 percent lied when surveyed. This percentage may be surprising to some, but consider your definition of “lying.”
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.
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.
Why limit honesty to just one day, though? If you are feeling really brave, try honesty out for the whole week. In honor of National Honesty Day, I will reveal one honest communication tip each day to help everyone get the “unsaid” said. Implementing the tactics I provide will improve the results of your honesty evaluation on April 30. The honest communication tips will be posted to my Facebook page and this Communication Blog. Please feel free to comment and let me know what results you see by using the tips!
Honest Communication Tip for April 26:
Abide by the Law of Reflection
The Law of Reflection states that what we give out is what we tend to get back. You may also know this law as the Golden Rule, or by the phrases “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” or “What goes around comes around.”
We have all heard these phrases in various forms and often recite them ourselves, but what strikes me is how easy it is to forget the powerful role this philosophy plays in honest communication.
Just think about it. How often have you experienced someone who does not listen to you or is not fully honest with you? In the spirit of National Honesty Day, be truly honest with yourself. Have there been times when you did not listen to that person or when you failed to openly share with them? As leaders, parents, colleagues and friends, we must model the behavior we seek.
When people blame us, we tend to blame them; when people accuse us, we tend to accuse them right back; when people withhold information from us, we tend to keep information from them. It also tends to hold true in the positive direction. When people take responsibility for their actions, we tend to take responsibility for ours; when people apologize, we tend to apologize back; when people focus on the solution; we tend to do the same.
Abiding by the Law of Reflection motivates you to be honest with others and compels others to be more honest with you. Be honest in acknowledging your mistakes, communicating your concerns and expressing your appreciation. Doing so will encourage others to do the same. Take that a step further and really listen to people if you want people to listen to you. Listen, no matter who are speaking with.
As National Honesty Day quickly approaches, abiding by the Law of Reflection is one way to increase your level of honesty.
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