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How To Tell The Truth At Work (Part 2 of 3)

Oct 22, 2007
Here are more tips for telling the truth in your own workplace.

Understanding and using these principles will help you feel more confident about the choices you make and help you develop the skills you need to tell the truth with grace and skill.

* Learn to tell the difference between your observations - what anyone else would also observe - and your interpretations and assumptions - the meanings you put on what you observe.

You spend your early life learning that the things you see, hear, feel, etc., mean something. You learn to interpret that a smile on someone's face means that they are pleased with you, and a frown or sharp word means that you have done something wrong.

You become so used to associating meaning to what you observe, that you carry those connections into adulthood, never realizing that the same signals may now mean different things. A smile now may be simply a social cover-up to hide someone's true feelings, a frown may mean someone is concentrating, and a sharp word may mean that someone is upset with something that has no relationship to you.

A video camera might accurately record and validate what you observe, however, you can only guess (or ask the other person) whether or not your interpretations are correct.

* Assume that, at any given moment, you and others are doing the best you can to get what you need, given the knowledge and resources available at that moment.

Only a few people learn to recognize what they want and gracefully and skillfully communicate that information to others. The rest of us just bumble along doing the best we can. Often our behavior is unskillful, and we inadvertently hurt others in our quest to take care of ourselves.

Of course, some people are belligerent, and seem to deliberately go out of their way to hurt others. Looking more deeply, you may see how they, too, do not know of any other options for themselves.

You still need to take appropriate precautions in your life. However, approaching situations with this attitude will make it possible for you to examine many otherwise hidden options for creating truthful relationships.

* Decide what you hope to accomplish by telling the truth.

It helps to remember that your truth may not be the same as somebody else's truth. Often the reason you want another to know your truth is because you want them to behave differently. Sometimes you just want to be heard and understood.

Knowing what you want to accomplish will help you design your communication more skillfully, so that you are more likely to accomplish your goal.
About the Author
Learn more about these principles by reading the stories of ordinary people who are learning about how to tell the truth effectively in The Integrity Course.
Laurie Weiss, Ph.D. is a Master Certified Coach and communication expert. Dr. Weiss has spent 35 years helping clients resolve conflict in business and personal relationships. Email feedback@laurieweiss.com
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