Communication should be open and ongoing and never one-way. Often when a person feels they will not be listed to or given an opportunity to be heard they will stop communicating. Additionally, communication needs to be truthful. Communications that hedge on the truth by being ambiguous or equivocal lead to unethical communication (Meese & Ortmeier, 2010). Ethical communication flows from the top to the bottom in organizations (Wray-Bliss, 2013). Individual ethics are on display in every conversation, in every communication, and every interaction that a person engages in. Although it may be uncomfortable confronting the truth, the consequences of denying the brutal facts can be more severe. Collins (2001) stated one of the distinctive forms of disciplined thoughts for the great companies was their focus on the brutal facts of reality. Collins goes on to say that each company had to face the brutal facts and make adjustments for company gains. As supervisors and leaders, we must confront the brutal facts of our employees’ and subordinates’ actions.
As a supervisor, I have had situations where I had to take action without all of the facts. This led to difficulties in future conversations with the subordinate(s) who felt they were not given the opportunity to tell their side of what happened and to defend themselves. Additionally, a breakdown in communication resulted which led to a lack of confidence and trust. Sitting down with the affected officer and having an open and candid conversation where all the facts were “laid on the table”, we were able to repair much of the damage that had been cause, and make huge strides at restoring trust and confidence. Furthermore, I was able to re-evaluate myself as a supervisor and make adjustments in my management style to ensure I do a better job of listening and gathering facts before taking impulsive actions.
There have been other times I have had subordinates tell me they did not like the way things were being done. As a young line supervisor this was sometimes difficult for me to accept. As I grew and matured as a leader I came to understand that I needed to empathize with how they felt and make changes if possible. However, when things could not be changed, my subordinates knew why and understood I was still concerned about their opinions.
As Christians, we must rely on God and know that He is in control. Even when we do not know all of the facts, we know who is in control. We trust God will do what He says which will be best for us. Moses and the Israelites found this out as they went to take the land of Canaan (Numbers 13, Holy Bible). Spies came back and said the land was good, but inhabited by giants. Only Caleb and Joshua said they could take the land with God on their side. The brutal truth was they were outnumbered and the Canaanites were larger than them. However, their vision of taking the land was based on the Word of God saying it was their land to take. We know when we follow God’s word everything will work out the way He intends. We are told in Romans 8:28 (NKJV) “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those that are called according to His purpose.”