Constructive criticism is valuable and propels workplace activity.

Could Modern Workplaces Benefit from Improving their Culture of ‘Candour’?

In the dynamic business landscape, modern workplaces must be progressively more adaptable to changes in focus: from an archaic tunnel-vision effort to maximise wealth for investors to the increased emphasis on economic, social and ethical sustainability observed in modern firms. As a result, this change has stimulated an environment in which transparency and trust are vital to success, as expressed in a recent study by Sprout Social, showing that more than 86% of people in the United States believe that the transparency of businesses is more critical than ever before.

This call for more transparency and free flow of information between managers and teams manifests in a ‘culture of candour’ in which people are rewarded for challenging assumptions, and giving feedback is seen as constructive instead of critically personal.

But what benefits underpin this unravelling of opacity?

Partly, this aggregates in dismantling the groupthink phenomenon where the desire for a general group census overthrows logic and critical thinking that would otherwise be in aid of an often more effective alternative solution or idea. If your teams have access to a nurturing environment in which adversary opinions are welcomed, it is only natural that overall ingenuity and innovation increase.

This ambiguous idea of a ‘culture of candour’ is not a short-term quick fix. Instead, it needs to be integrated into how a workspace functions gradually.

Those at the top set the tone, so in the spirit of role modelling, leaders should take accountability for their errors instead of hiding behind information asymmetry to mask their mistakes.

Practising having difficult conversations can build effective skills of forthrightness, eliminating tentative language that conflicts with the pursuit of clear and direct communication – this sort of training is increasingly common in large corporations.

Honesty is symbiotic. It allows both parties in a conversation to feel fulfilled and confident – when implemented correctly. It efficiently functions in a modern workplace to solidify a candour culture that coincides with many benefits. Whilst it may initially be challenging for individuals to be honest with their managers and vice versa, at the end of the day, constructive criticism is valuable and propels workplace activity.