The Honesty Bank

epkatz

The past few weeks at work have been rough and I’ve had to deliver stressful and distressing news to my teams. It got me thinking about honesty.

Someone asked me about the best way to deliver news. Especially when it can be subjective. Like the state of a project, team, business or company. How do you tell your team that everything is going to be alright? Why would they even believe you?

I think that’s where banking honesty is important. When you’re always honest, no matter what, you can start to build up credit with your team. When it’s time for a hard talk, they believe you because of all the other times they knew you were being honest with them.

This can also backfire. It takes one time where you stretch the truth, misrepresent something or flat out lie and then you go bankrupt.

My policy is that I always share the truth as I know it or I tell the person who asked that I can’t share. It’s also how I want to be treated.

As a leader this can get you in trouble. I’m certain I’ve shared information I wasn’t supposed to. I treat my team like adults and I hope they live up to it. Ultimately you have to use your best judgement. Your team’s belief in you is more important than the potential harm it might do.