In the movie “A Few Good Men,” Tom Cruise asks Jack Nicholson for the truth. Jack answers back with “You can’t handle the truth.” While there may be some merit to that statement, it’s always better than lying.
Do you always get honesty from you staff? You would like to think that you do, but how do you really know? If a problem arises and you ask two different people how it happened and you get different answers, someone’s not being a truth-teller. There’s a lot of meat right here.
What is the office environment like? Do you rule with an iron fist or is it loosy goosey and nobody cares? Does the staff come to you when they’ve made a mistake or do they wait for you to bring it to their attention? Hearing about a problem today is much better than finding the problem two weeks down the road. If we would have only known sooner we could have prevented it.
I believe that most people want to tell the truth. The key is to create an environment that is conducive to telling the truth. That is an environment without fear. I don’t mean without consequences, just without fear.
I have three boys and we have a motto at our house that is repeated on a regular basis. I will say to my boys that we are Klockenbrink’s, and Klockenbrink’s are what? We are truth-tellers. And who do we represent? We represent God and our family. And how do we represent them? Well. Then I put my arm across my chest with a little pound to the chest and send them out. While they may laugh at times or think it’s corny, I believe I’ve been setting a foundation.
Now I’m not saying I do this same thing at work, but I try to go out of my way to make people know the truth is important and the truth will set you free. So if you were to ask your staff how you’re doing or what areas you need to improve on, would they tell you the truth? Are they willing to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help them God? After all, isn’t the goal to improve? I don’t think this will come easy, so it’s up to you to set the tone!
Are you a truth-teller?
Mike Klockenbrink is chief of staff at Lakeside Church, Folsom, CA. [ www.lakesidechurch.com]