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Are you really ready for candor?

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The Merriam Webster dictionary defines candor as, “unreserved, honest, or sincere expression.” There are lots of calls for candor these days. Why not? Who can argue against unreserved and honest communication? Seems like it should be a winner.

Not so fast, my friend. There are lots of ways that encouraging more candor can go wrong. Many of them are ugly. The brutal truth is that the brutal truth often feels like a slap in the face.

What happens then? The person who feels slapped doesn’t concentrate on the feedback. Afterwards, he or she won’t remember what you said, only how you made them feel. It’s even worse than that because that “slapped” feeling can translate into reluctance to speak up or take prudent risks. You can’t simply and safely decide to create a culture of candor without preparing the ground.

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