As a small business owner you’re constantly communication with employees and customers. The time will come when you’ll have bad news to deliver and you’ll be faced with a decision. Should you communicate the information honestly?
The answer to that question is yes, but not just a simple yes, a definitive yes. Honest communications is a hallmark of integrity, and that is something you cannot afford to lose.
Many people will tell you to sugar coat something or put a positive spin on it. You can do that, but don’t do it too much. Look for the positive in your message, but make sure you’re communicating the honest truth. As a small business person your employees will respect you, and your customers will expect it.
What benefit does your small business derive out of you being honest:
Integrity: As mentioned previously, your integrity is a trait that is grown, not bought. Think of it as a tree that is nurtured to grow big and strong. Honesty is the nutrients it needs, while dishonesty is a vicious chain saw. Don’t lose your integrity because you think your employees or customers won’t accept the truth.
Confidence: Your employees will understand that your honest communication is a reflection of the confidence you have in your business. Your customers will appreciate the transparency, which means they can adjust their business and expectations. A great example of this just happened when a large hosting company had cascading issues that affected all their customers. The honesty they showed didn’t anger their customers, but forged a bond with them. Oh, and the customers that were angry would have been angry no matter what.
Relationships are formed: By being honest you are committing to a relationship with your employees and customers. They can depend on you, as you can depend on them. Honesty shows that you, as a small business person, can be trusted in your relationship.
I can’t stress enough that some people will advise you to dress up the truth. Don’t do it. Be honest and complete.