Honesty and trust | Scoins.net | DJS

Honesty and trust

examples to draw the reader in

There are many ways to view honesty. The ability to accept that something you have previously assumed to be black is not as black as you had thought and possibly quite a different colour altogether is, for some, quite beyond them. Some people need to lie to themselves to motivate themselves. Some people feel that truth is something which varies with the audience of the moment. Many will admit that internal honesty and what actually is said are not necessarily closely connected, and quite a lot of people will call that modification being 'polite'.

Back reference to last chapter on politeness and how it gets in the way.

There are all sorts of folk who say one set of things and do something else, often described as 'do what I say, not what I do'. There are even people (and peoples) who are unable to see a triple mismatch between what they think, say and do. I have met people who very clearly have a variety of settings for this mismatch, such that the work setting is extraordinarily different from that applied at home. Of those I have tried to talk to about this, they are mostly unaware that such mismatches occur and are often troubled at it being spotted. I see this as a form of double-think.

watch a championship-level high jumper in preparation. They stand at the edge of the run-up semicircle, quite clearly working through  the motions in their head, because you can see muscle twitches and you can see them 'seeing' themselves going through the jump. This rehearsal is understood to improve the likelihood of the jump succeeding. Golfers do something similar.  Academic reference?

It is essential that there is internal honesty, that when you consider a matter you do not lie to yourself. That does not preclude moments at which you build yourself up for a particular effort, such as you might see a high-jumper do before each attempt – that's not at all deceit, that's preparing for a coordinated effort; the exercising of the routine helps make the routine function properly.

In the same way, recognising that some task could have gone better does not require a depression to occur, instead it requires the honesty to say to yourself, 'That went badly; why?" Perhaps there was insufficient preparation, or the wrong preparation, perhaps there were faulty assumptions or wrong information. Whatever these reasons were, attaching blame doesn't help, while looking for ways to improve future situations matters. That is, blame is unproductive, but evaluating what needs to change ought to be productive. So the internal honesty needs to include consideration of both consequences and active learning from the experience, while moping about missed opportunity is, quite simply, missing opportunity by wasting time. There is much to be learned form sport here; consider how quickly a motor racing driver moves on from one bad result to the next opportunity to improve.

Back reference to introspection, previous chapter.

Honesty between colleagues is a different sort of issue. There is often value in not saying all of a truth, but there is  great disservice produced each time you further an untruth. So, while you might well curb your tongue from issuing some acerbic remark and while there are many occasions where your opinion of a person or situation would be better not expressed, you might well admit to yourself that you hold an opinion and then ask if that is affecting your dealings with this person or situation. You might then decide that you have enough reason to modify your behaviour (e.g. work at not having to deal with such people) or to discuss with others how it is that your position is damaged, affected, unreliable and other labels indicating that you may not produce the expected results.

Trust among colleagues is greatly helped by mutual honesty. This may be characterised as matching honesty, but it is simpler to indicate topics one would rather not talk about than to tell untruths. A matter that you don't want to talk about may still obtrude. Suppose you're having a bad time outside work (say, with a partner or relative) and it's affecting your ability to do your job; if someone is asking about this, then you need to recognise the caring expressed, that someone has noticed and that you're clearly showing strain at work. Of course, the questions may only be directed at the work-related result, but if there is effect, it needs to be dealt with at some level. Inability to trust how your response is made, inability to make an honest response and for an honest response to be treated as unacceptable; these situations are not conducive to wanting to work for this employer.

Capacity for labour mobility ? I've always assumed that an option is to move to another employer. Staying with an employer under unsatisfactory circumstances offers several routes to versions of a solution: 

(i) do nothing, cope with the situation; this may result is reduction of interest in the work, change in loyalty to individuals or the business as a whole. For quite a few people, this is the distinction between 'job' and 'career'; a job is something you do but don't much care about. Actually we need better terminology, because 'career' has a continuing implication of progress and there are plenty of work roles (called both jobs and careers) that are going nowhere and in which one can take pride in work well done and continually look for ways in which the work might improve.  Amused: if a car were to career, it would be out of control; we use the workplace career to imply something carefully constructed with forethought, ambition and targets.

(ii) do something about the situation, which is what this book (better unit descriptor? Chapter?) is mostly about.

(iii) move to something else. Sometimes one can move within the business. At a trivial level, if a school student is having a problem with a particular staff member, move to a different class, switch sports, clubs or subjects. Within a business, look to change teams, departments, specialities, offices.

(iv) change yourself. You may be your own problem: maybe the issues are not to do with the business, but with what you want out of the business. Resolving situations such as this requires immense internal honesty as to what sort of things you want out of life and, once past essentials such as warmth, light, food and shelter, we reach matters such as self-respect and appreciation, which is respect from others. One might consider whether more education would help, or a change in attitude or that the underlying issue is something quite different, so that the solutions include considerations such as changing countries or careers. 

General rule; strive to be seen as part of the solution, not part of the problem. Pointer to How To and Not chapter.

Trust and honesty have implications. Among these is that your word has to have value, that when you say you will do something, it happens. That applies as strongly to what you tell yourself as what you tell others. This is called things like reliability and consistency. You might come across mantras such as Be Your Word (Simon Ekin, from his newsletter)

What I am about to say is VERY simple, but not easy. I’ll break it down into 3 parts:

  1. Be your word.
  2. Be your word.
  3. Be your word.

"You should always keep your word. All the setbacks in life come only because you don't keep your word." Sivananda, Indian holy man.
Here’s what Being your Word looks like practically:

  1. Pay close attention to what comes out of your mouth. Our words have the power to damage or transform. Stop throwing your word around like litter.
  2. When you speak, carry it through. Period. In the old days, if you didn’t carry out your promises - yes, what you say you will do is a promise – there could be dire consequences.
  3. If you don’t keep your word—which happens, even with the best will in the world—then clean it up: go back to the person you made the promise to and make a new promise, or make some sort of amends, beyond, “I’m sorry.”

Without integrity (being your word) nothing works. Werner Erhard (A grandfather of personal development.)

Of course, there are corollaries. Don't promise what you cannot deliver; don't promise on behalf of other people. You might even say so directly, "I can't promise what I can't deliver". When invited to offer the undeliverable, it would help to offer partial solutions, so as to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.  Chapter heading? Particular danger here is to promise something where delivery of the promise depends on other people in turn delivering as expected. You cannot guarantee this and so it does not lie within your abiility to promise. So don't do that. Instead, make some accurate statement such as 'that ought to work' and offer detail (show your working, as we'd say at school). This is what I mean by 'Don't promise what you can't deliver'.

[Just noticed (interrupted by a Mail issue, etc, internet rabbit hole...) on FB: picture of a calm sea on a sunny day, titled 'Submarine racing: so much more exciting than football.'  The Euros are on. Apparently, whatever that is. Elsewhere in mail was a you.gov survey which having ascertained that I have zero interest in tennis, asked me about Roland Garros; if I have zero or even non-positive interest, how would I know what that is? Or that it is still a question about tennis - why have we not moved on already? What is wrong with these people?]

Integrity is a core value ..... expand.

'Caring professional' conflct?

There are many businesses which at some point describe themselves as caring professionals. I see this term as having internal conflict. If I am caring, I am displaying kindness and concern for others; I am taking their problems, making them my own to an extent and helping to alleviate the problems presented. If I am a professional then it is understood I am qualified, specialist and experienced in this business. These two ideas can be paired to have several different meanings. 

A professional carer [1] would be a paid specialist providing care, up to date with standards.

A caring profession might well mean nursing and social work to many, but is also used to describe teaching, all sorts of medical work and ought to include any profession that involves looking after people.

A caring professional is then someone who works within a caring profession. 

Relevant? But it could be any professional person who cares about the result of their work and how it affects others. I've met caring solicitors and uncaring barristers but would not claim that there cannot be a caring barrister too, just that I have not met one. There can be caring professional footballers...

Which is fine, until your work starts going home with you. One of the hallmarks of a professional is that they can step away from the professional persona, to somehow put that caring into a box and close the lid. It maybe that displaying kindness and being kind are different. If internal honesty is important to you then these two are the same. At the same time the confusing concept of politeness can easily conflict with honesty, preventing a necessary message from being voiced. 

Having been told at length that teaching was a caring profession I decided that, so as not to take other people's problems for my own, I needed to be clear to myself quite what this care element included. I am not saying my solution is for everyone; I am saying what I found that worked for me. If someone wished to bring me a problem I would do my best to offer routes to a solution and the explanation of the problem and subsequent discussion of the problem was often sufficient to clarify to the person bringing me a problem what it was that needed to occur. This only rarely included me doing anything further. Particularly, this did not involve me talking to anyone else about the problem discussed. One unexpected result was that about once a year some student I had never taught would come to discuss a problem they had, in part because it was known that nothing would go any further. There is a line drawn at which a problem requires that others be included and that the professional being consulted must point this out. Where this was likely to occur, I'd tell the student about this—that if the conversation went to a described point we'd have reached a place where I'd be required to go (or to have gone) to talk to someone else about this—and each time the student was then able to consider anew what they were about to tell so as to, in most cases, step around the need to include others.

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[1] https://guardiancarers.co.uk/care-information/what-is-a-professional-carer

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