PLUS Five Points for Honesty
Yes, it’s true. I overheard “I’ll be open and honest with you but not right now.”
My immediate reaction? A little giggle, a raised eyebrow, and a bit of disbelief. Hmmm … At least this is an open statement, right? Bravo for not whispering. It’s worth something. Action-oriented. Clear expectations. It fits the project manager’s mnemonic of SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant/realistic, and timely/timeframe – for the most part. And in theory, communications with the intent of sharing knowledge is a good thing. All good, right?
MINUS Six Points for Honesty
And then again … Uhm? For me, at the time, I remember there was something about this overheard statement that made me giggle, because I thought it was a joke – I thought it would be followed with laughter. Rather, plans were being made to coordinate schedules for a meeting time and location. While I thought this statement was unbelievable, I sat back and thought, “Why not?” I believe each person in a workspace has the right to confide in someone – and to do so in privacy. Not every cubeopolis conversation has to be shared with fellow cubesters.
As I shared in anthrocubeologist deconsructed, I am interested in, among many things, BEHAVIOR, CONNECT, and DISCONNECT in the workspace. Admittedly, while this is one of my go-to stories when others are talking about workspace nuttiness, it also has become one of my non-scientific research efforts. I find myself reflecting on this from several different angles such as –
- Why did I react the way I did when I overheard this?
- Does it matter that this was spoken by a senior person to a new hire?
- Conversely, would this matter differently if a new hire said this to a manager?
- By sharing what I overheard with others off-line and on-line, what is that saying about me?
- Is there some kind of “honesty sliding scale” where things like context, position, age, and feelings matter?
Here are a few things that have crossed my path on my recent pondering …
- Overheard in the Office – A web community of quotes overheard in the office … pretty straightforward.
- Steven Gaffney – My friend Maria introduced me to Steven Gaffney‘s book Just Be Honest back in the late 1990s. He did a training session at her consulting company.
- NYT 2012 Article on Open Space Plan / Cubicle – A friend sent this article. While I thought this would be an article I’d draw upon to talk about physical workspace perspectives, there is reference in the article of a person’s viewpoint on having meaningful conversations and of a decline in efficiency in performance of cognitive tasks (and promoting more noise control) in a referenced paper.
- Rules of Honesty – In addition to articles I have come across, friends and colleagues have forwarded me many “steps”, “rules”, “methods”, etc. regarding workplace honesty. Three that I quickly recollect – 3 Essential Rules to Workplace Honesty (context of co-workers, employers, managers) and How to Create an Atmosphere of Honesty in the Workplace (an employee handbook), and Honesty: The Secret to Successful Organizations (pretty straightforward stuff).
- The Four Agreements – My sister-in-law gave me this little book several years ago. Four very simple life rules.
- The Collared Sheep – Of course(!), whenever I need my fix of fellow cubesters’ rants, raves, and ponderstings, the world of tweetastic News From The Cube gets as honest (and entertaining) as can be.