Candor in Business: Are You Risk-Averse?

You might ask, “What kind of candor are you talking about?”  This could be a very long and winded blog post if we included all the times and ways in which you could choose candor over hiding, lying, leaving or some other way to avoid telling the truth or expressing your views.

Is it risky to speak with candor in business?  In fact, it might be.  One risk in candor is that someone might shoot the messenger! Whistle-blowing falls in the realm of candor.

The risk associated with candor is also affected by many variables including your position of power in the organization.  If you are the boss or have a long history of high performance, you probably aren’t as risk adverse if your views of a situation fly in the face of your superior’s position.

There are clear places where candor is VERY risky, and one of those is the Internet.  Enough said about that I hope.

Some management teams see the value of diverse opinions, and in these environments it is less risky to speak candidly because taking risks candidly is a cultural norm.  This kind of culture is healthier than a repressive culture where there must be adherence to a company line.

Thankfully, repressive systems are less common today because most savvy leaders recognize the need for multiple voices on topics of importance lest they miss a cue and make strategic errors.

That said, every day you are confronted with the choice whether to speak up and be heard, or let it ride.

We would all like to be in a culture that removes or lessens the risk of candor.  In the absence of that culture, if candor is the right thing to do for the greater good, it takes courage and the willingness to take a risk in order to speak anyway.

May the Force be With YOU!

I assert that in cultures where “A” players predominate, there is less aversion to candor or even more likelihood that the culture embraces it.   Differences of opinions are healthy.

If you are interested in how to achieve a high-performing, risk-willing team, consider being coached and developed as a team leader through a one-day (plus preparation and follow-up) “Leader Effectiveness Course.”

Pamela Stambaugh, seasoned advisor to executives and their teams, offers assessments (Harrison Assessments and others), coaching, and team facilitation addressing 3 P’s:  Performance, Productivity and People.


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