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If We Appreciate Transparency, Why Don’t We Practice It?

I overhead a hiring manager interviewing a candidate the other day.  At the end of their interview, he said “I appreciate transparency so if you’re about to accept another offer, I’d like to know about it so I can do something about it.”

It’s funny how we love transparency but are afraid to give it.  For example, every employer would like to know if an employee is unhappy and looking for another job.  That way they can try to retain the person and avoid the dreaded two weeks’ notice.

Six years into my accounting career at a CPA firm, I decided I wanted to pursue sales.  I had a good relationship with the firm and decided to make them part of my journey.  I was frank with them and in return, they introduced me to a client of the firm who sold investments and I landed a sales job. 

Being transparent and telling the other person how we really feel is the right thing to do and it’s not as risky or hard to do as you might think.  Think about it.  We all want to improve and be the best we can be.  To do that, we need to hear honest feedback, not what we want to hear. 

But if we want people to be transparent with us, we must do two things first.  One, we must be transparent with them and two, we must receive their transparency well.  If we’re defensive, we’ll discourage their frankness and stunt our own personal and business growth in the process.

When a restaurant owner comes over after the meal and ask me if everything was alright, I’ve been known to say something like, “The food was scrumptious, but the server needs a little more training.”  I feel like I’m helping this owner by helping them fix their shortcomings and keep my business.  Telling them what they want to hear won’t help them.  In turn, they should respond appreciatively.  If they respond defensively, they don’t deserve my continued patronage..

Would we rather live in a world where everyone is thin skinned, so no one expresses their true feelings?  Or one in which we welcome other people’s feelings so we can grow?  

Two outcomes are possible when transparently telling others how we feel. Both are positive so there’s no downside. Either the person will react appreciatively, or they’ll react defensively. 

If they react appreciatively, then you know you’re dealing with a person who wants to grow, which bodes well for them individually, their business and their relationships overall.  If they react defensively, or worse, narcissistically, you’ll know you’re dealing with a person who doesn’t want to grow themselves, their business and their relationships and that no matter what you do, they won’t change.

Both outcomes will inform you about the person you’re speaking to and with that information, you can decide where in your life that person fits.  Either way, you’ll have less stress and you’ll have done your part to help them by being transparent.

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This is Robert Band, your business finance expert, helping business owners make their financial problems go away. Remember, one tip could be worth millions and profits today become fortunes tomorrow so don’t let them fall through the cracks. 

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