Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say

Carry out your duties with respect for the Lord, with honesty, and with pure motives. 2 Chronicles 19:9

It is an interesting phenomenon that we live in a society that is fixated on reality TV, where so many sit glued to the television screen amazed at the transparency and forthrightness of ordinary people (and sometimes washed up celebrities) who, with nothing to lose, bare every inner secret and past indiscretion for entertainment.  The raw nature of these programs, where to their credit these folks are being open and honest about themselves, stands in stark contrast to the communications we often see in the workplace environment.  There an unwritten code exists where transparency is too often replaced with obfuscation, diversion, manipulative language, and double talk.  Corporate managers have their own jargon, with ever-changing trends that has become so obtuse and confusing in many workplaces that corporate language consultants are frequently hired to explain the latest trends, improve communication skills, and help interpret for those not up to the latest terminology.  Corporate speak, corporate lingo, business speak…there is even an online dictionary of “Ridiculous Business Jargon” addressing such nuggets as “above-board,” “action item,” “hammer out,” and the ever cringe-worthy “gravitas.”  My own personal annoyance is the overuse of the term “synergy” as in, “we seem to have a good synergy with our respective services.”

The avoidance of plain speaking and clear language, and the reliance instead on euphemisms and jargon in the business world sometimes leads to disingenuous communications and outright rudeness.   It masks truth in triteness and can be harmful to a work environment.  The inability to speak truth, to be clear and open and transparent often leaves employees confused, causes emotional upheaval, and does little to help correct mistakes, improve performance, and foster true growth.  Doublespeak with clients and peers can lead to resentment and poison or kill a business relationship.  It is oftentimes an outgrowth of pride, dishonesty, and selfish motives.

I try to approach my communications with my clients, partners, colleagues and employees with honesty and forthrightness. I explain what I am doing and why I am doing it.  I am honest in communications and transparent in decisions. I take the time to consider the listener and the impact of my words on them.  I avoid obfuscation and try to be clear about what I am saying, why I am saying it and what my intentions are. I am mindful of what the Lord expects from me: humility, honesty, truthfulness and compassion. I suspect that this is also what people we work with and serve as clients and customers expect from us as well.

The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but an accurate weight is his delight. When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the unfaithful destroys them…. Proverbs 11

Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. Philippians 2:3

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. 1 Peter 5:5


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