Why a Culture of Candor Is Essential for Businesses

Why is candor important in organizations? How can you establish a culture of candor?

Some businesses suffer from miscommunication because employees are too afraid to speak their minds. When candor is encouraged in organizations, people bounce ideas off each other and discuss potential issues that need to be solved.

Continue reading for more reasons why a culture of candor is essential for every organization.

Candor in Business

According to Winning by Jack Welch, a culture of candor is important to cultivate in your organization. People should be encouraged to be outspoken, direct, and honest in their communication

(Shortform note: In Radical Candor, Kim Scott argues that establishing “radical candor” in your organization, or a culture of respectful honesty and frankness, will make it more effective. Scott says that being a boss is about managing relationships, and it can be difficult to find the proper balance between being too friendly and too harsh. Radical candor helps strike this balance and is guided by two key principles: caring personally for people and challenging them. Caring personally for people will show that they can trust you, and it will make them more receptive to your feedback. Challenging them will motivate them to improve and give them clear guidance on how to do so.) 

Welch claims that establishing candor in your organization helps in three key ways: 

  1. It produces ideas. When everyone in your company is accustomed to speaking their mind, and accustomed to others speaking their minds, without fear of punishment or ridicule, more meaningful and productive conversations occur. More ideas are presented, and these ideas are discussed and criticized until the best idea wins out. 
  2. It saves your organization time. Because ideas are being openly debated and discussed, your organization can get to the best ideas quicker. Instead of people keeping their mouths shut or tiptoeing around criticisms of their coworkers’ or bosses’ ideas, people will speak their minds and move on.
  3. It saves your organization money. A candid organization is less likely to waste money on meetings where nothing of substance is said or reports that don’t contribute value to the company’s bottom line. Instead, employees can focus on the things they feel are actually important.

According to Welch, the method for creating a more candid company culture is straightforward: Recognize and reward candid behavior as much as possible. Over time, people will grow accustomed to direct and honest communication, and they’ll grow to appreciate and see the value in it. 

How Radical Candor Helps Your Company 

Though Welch looks at how a companywide culture of candor can help your organization become more effective and efficient, Scott, in Radical Candor, takes a more focused approach, examining how candid leadership helps motivate individuals and improve the team’s productivity. This will not only save the organization time and money, it will enrich the lives of everyone in the company. Scott says radical candor helps your teams in four key ways:

By building trusting relationships: Candor can help you show your team that you care, which will build trust and motivate them to accomplish more. To build trust, you must not only be candid with your employees but also give them autonomy in their work and respect their boundaries. 

By improving the feedback you give and receive: To help your team be more candid, you should first request criticism from them and show them how to respond appropriately. Ask for feedback and show you’re grateful for their criticism by listening and making a noticeable effort to follow their advice. To give feedback, your criticism should be based on helping your team member, not on lambasting them for their mistakes. Also, whenever possible, make sure you give constructive criticism in private, in-person conversations rather than in front of the whole team.

By helping your team members grow: As a manager, it’s important to know and understand your employees’ goals and motivations not only to build trust but also so you can support them to be the best employee and person they can be. With radical candor, an employee can comfortably share their goals and ambitions with you, and you can help them achieve these goals with honest advice.

By building a collaborative atmosphere: Similar to Welch’s ideas on how candor helps produce the best ideas efficiently, Scott argues that radical candor helps teams collaborate effectively and achieve much more together than they could separately. Scott says that a radically candid team will listen to each other, clarify what they mean, debate ideas, make decisions together, and then execute the plan.
Why a Culture of Candor Is Essential for Businesses

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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