Can We Be Honest? Why Character Counts

Today I am reminded of what it feels like to be honest, or rather, to be on the receiving end of dishonest behavior.  Why is it that people have a hard time being honest?  What keeps people from being honest with themselves and others?

I had an experience yesterday that bummed me out.  Frankly, it had to do with another person’s dishonesty.  As I took some time to think it all through and learn from this experience, I began to call to mind one of Michael Josephson’s “Character Counts” radio programs I used to listen to during my dark-in-the-morning commutes (well, it didn’t really matter what I was doing, I always had time for Character Counts!) While his messages on the program tended to focus on the character building of youth, they were just as applicable for adults … if not more so. They provided reinforcement of timeless truths of a life of moral character through inspiring, captivating stories. You can read more into his work here.

As I went back and reflected on my own truths and those spoken in those radio programs, I began to do a little research on the topic of honesty. Spurred by my curiosity of wanting to understand people better, here is what I found.

What it takes to be honest and what it means if you’re not:

Honesty sometimes requires risk.  Honesty sometimes means you have to put your ego in check.   Revealing yourself and making yourself vulnerable can be challenging and can come at the most inopportune times.  Honesty takes personal growth and the more honest we are the more we grow for ourselves and in our relationships.

Maybe you made a promise and suddenly find you can’t keep it.  When do you come forward?  What happens the longer you wait?  It can really become a burden and a reality that if left without taking quick action creates an even bigger problem for you.  It weighs heavy on your mind, starts to distract you from your work, your relationships, your short or even long term goals.  Some people can even find you out before you have a chance to be honest, and that leaves you with other challenges like the question of your integrity, or your trustworthiness. And can I be honest? Dishonesty downright hurts!

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.  Growth in life, relationships, work and your community takes honesty.  Among other things, an honest look at who you are, where you are, where you want to go, and how you are going to get there.  Sometimes honesty takes forethought for how you want to share a message – I put that under the heading of emotional intelligence – and honesty can take assertiveness with yourself and others.  Honesty can be scary, but more often, honesty feels good. It can really lighten your load and take pounds off of you in a second.

I am following my own advice today to see where I can be more honest.  What is sitting on your plate that requires honest communication?  Resolve to take care of that one thing today and see how you feel.  Check in with yourself tomorrow and take another step toward your personal growth.

Enjoy the journey, it’s worth it!!

 

PS: If you want more inspiration here is an excerpt pulled from the Michael Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics:

Trustworthiness:

Be honest. Don’t deceive, cheat, or steal . Be reliable, do what you say you’ll do. Have the courage to do the right thing. Build a good reputation. Be loyal — stand by your family, friends, and country.

See more at: http://charactercounts.org/sixpillars.html#sthash.6hBBhbnD.dpuf

 

 

How to Get Your Team to Work Together

As a manager or an employer, it’s essential that your team is working together smoothly and efficiently. When we have a team that is cohesive and collaborative, the company can create great result for the clients you serve and you’ll also increase the loyalty and longevity of the team members themselves.

Here are a few strategies to get your team to increase their collaborative efforts.

  • Encourage and promote communication across all teams and groups within the organization. Require teams to share about the big picture of their own roles, what they are working on, and how each step in the process impacts the overall outcome. Create some guidelines for how often and how much information should be shared, including when, where and how this information will be delivered–that way people will begin expecting it.
  • Get people to know each other outside of their normal work environments. The more people “like” each other, the more their loyalty will increase towards one another. Have teams go out to lunch together, utilize some work hours to go bowling, have a company happy hour, do a team building event or anything that gets people talking and connecting.
  • Get buy in from team members through collaborative brainstorming. The more we throw down ideas from the top and expect them to be smoothly integrated, the more our teams suffer. When teams take part in the idea process, they are more accountable for the goals and more excited about the actions to make it happen.
  • Be a good role model. This means if you see any personality conflicts or issues that are causing some office drama—handle them immediately. Practice great communication skills and get people to talk through their issues on their own, without impacting the work flow.

What other strategies do you use to get your team to work together? We’d love to know. Share those in the comments below.

Training Your Team to Work Together

If a team is cohesive and collaborate—they are more efficient and productive. It’s what every manager and executive wants for their people. But, how do you get your individual team members to take more responsibility and to rely on the team—instead of you?

It’s a question that almost every manager asks at some point. When you train your team to work together and become a true team, each member will be better individually and collectively.

Here are two things you can implement with your team to help them gain their independence.

1. Don’t micromanage. Micromanaging only perpetuates dependency and disgruntles your team members. If you aren’t giving your people full control, they will come to depend on seeking your approval in order to complete tasks, projects and assignments. Take a step back and analyze whether you are too close to the process of each project and if so, slowly begin to move away from each step along the way. You’ll need to let go of control and trust that you have the right people in place to handle the job. If you don’t have the right people, you’ll still need to stop micromanaging, but you may also need to shift people around on your team or make a new hire.

2. Show don’t tell. When delegating tasks and giving your teams new items to learn and implement, it’s imperative that they learn the knowledge that you hold. They’ll need to know everything from why the task is being completed, who to go to for certain aspects of the tasks, how to trouble shoot, and anything else that is relevant. Just asking someone to do something without giving them a complete 360 degree view is setting yourself up for a lot more questions and interaction than necessary. Show them what to do, don’t just tell them to do it.

3. Encourage independence, creative thinking and mistakes. Yes, I said mistakes. When individuals know they are allowed to make mistakes and won’t be put on the chopping block, shamed in front of the entire team, or worse—they will feel the sense of freedom in exploring what will work and won’t work on their own. And, there’s no greater teacher than true experience and figuring things out. You can bet that any team member who makes a mistake once won’t do it again.

Overall, it is possible to train your team to work together and to be more self-sufficient, however, it always starts with leadership and management. Take a look at your leadership style and even your company culture and make any necessary adjustments there, before you expect your team to become fully independent.