By: Kristi Spargo
No, this isn’t a story about my child’s horrific first haircut experience. My kids are no saints but they both love getting their hair cut and I have gratefully never wiped a tear at the salon. This story is about someone else’s poorly behaved child. We walk into the salon and notice it is much more crowded than usual. As my both of my sons had a 70’s shag thing going on, we decided it was worth the wait. Another boy was there, waiting not so patiently and taking up two chairs in a standing room only audience. He was flailing, sliding to the floor and yelling at his mom. I could see my younger son staring at him. I bore witness to the wheels churning behind those long blonde locks, but I dutifully did my job as a mom and ignored the situation. Then it happened. In a crystal clear voice, defying the speech therapy that I am certain is in his future, and in a decibel that only a four-year-old could attain when using his inside voice, my son pointed to the other boy and said, “Mommy, do you like that boy? I don’t like that boy. And Daddy doesn’t either.”
I froze, taming the flood of thoughts pounding in my brain.
- Why is he so loud?
- The other boy’s mom looks mean and could easily take me down.
- How is it possible to be so loud?
- Why did my husband think it was good idea to share that particular opinion with our son?
- I wonder what it must be like to be so honest.
You see I was reminded of an old adage that day. Honesty is the best policy. Granted, it needs to be cushioned with some tact and a filter, but I wish that there was a little bit more openness and honesty in the workplace today. Transparency, authenticity and open communication are hot buzz words right now. Yet I’d like to think that you don’t have to teach employers strategies on how to be transparent, that they could just be honest because employees work hard and deserve to know the truth. I recognize that there are going to be limitations and certain items that until fleshed out, not everyone needs to know. But why have some things been kept hidden, because they always have been? Do they need to be? Every little bit shared increases employee investment into the company. If I have full confidence that my employer has shared everything that I need to know, then I can respectfully provide space in that there are some things I don’t need to know; and that’s ok. They will tell me when I do.
Honesty is not just at the broad level. I had written my first piece for a new boss and he came into my office and told me about the time when he had written something for his boss many years ago and was told that “It was crap.” It was easy to read between the lines that a re-write was in my
very near future. While off-putting at first, I love this story because after I got to know him I saw that he carried that same honesty throughout all of his employee interactions and never tried to hide anything. He offered the good with the bad, the high-level with the nitty-gritty and all while delivering the information with kindness, openness, respect and the expectation that his employees would be just as honest in return with him.
Due to the blow dryers and another screaming toddler getting his first haircut, I did make it out alive that day at the salon and so did my son. My husband, however, definitely heard my thoughts later on about exactly how honest to be with a very loud four-year-old. Maybe a blog to come….