Read ‘Be truthful and create trust’ – part 1
“He who rebukes a man will find more favour than he who flatters with the tongue.”
I wrote last week about speaking with candor in our work place (or at church), but with a large dose of love and sensitivity.
In the church world it may be when we greet our pastor at the door, smile and kindly say, “Good sermon pastor.” But it really wasn’t. The truth may be that the pastor is a very ineffective communicator. He should either take a public speaking course or find another line of work. People leave the church because they can’t bear another boring sermon, but tell the pastor, “It’s nothing personal pastor. We love it here, but we just needed to find a church closer to home.”
I do understand social graces and kindness. I’ve never told my Aunty Gloria that she talks too much and too loudly. Instead I avoided spending very much time with her. Of course we must temper our truth-speaking with love, positiveness and encouragement. But there remains virtue in truthfulness — in both the business world and the church.
When a group of employees are sitting in a meeting, and for fear of offending anyone (including the boss), they all blandly commend a dumb plan that’s on the table. Not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, none of them truthfully say, “You know what? That’s a very bad idea. It will cost thousands of dollars and we’re only looking at it because we don’t want to offend our boss.”
In a larger corporation, it may mean truthfully addressing a pet product or even a branch managed by a beloved old-time employee, and saying, “Let’s dump it. This is just not working. I know that Marg is going to feel bad for a while, but in the bigger scheme of things, this product (branch) is costing us too much and it’s keeping us from fulfilling our real purpose.”
In the personal world speaking the truth in love may mean saying to an employee, “Jack you’re not cutting it. You’re staying in this job is not only detrimental to our company goals, but it’s not helping you. You need to find a vocation that matches your gifting and skills — you’re fired.”
Secondly, it’ll generate more discussion and new ideas. When one person says out loud what everyone else on staff is thinking, “This system is a waste of time and money”, then others will jump in and come up with alternatives. Stroking the boss’ ego will ultimately keep the company from success.
Thirdly, honesty unclutters discussion and feedback. It speeds up progress. It generates profits (if that’s one of your business values). We all agree that truth speaking flies in the face of human socializing. It’s difficult. But so is getting up at 5:30 and doing calisthenics. The fact remains, honesty is the best policy.
God is very truthful. He speaks with candor. We can only build our lives on a solid foundation of truth. How would I like it if my doctor didn’t tell me that I had a serious disease because he didn’t want to hurt my feelings. As the Apostle Paul wrote: So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbours the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.
Barry Buzza, a veteran pastor, is the president elect of the The Foursquare Gospel Church of Canada. www.foursquare.ca