While sugar coating something might be acceptable in some situations, it's not a tactic that should necessarily be taken in the working world. Honesty is truly the best policy, especially when it's paired with suggestions on how to continue to become better.
In a recent Inc. contribution piece, Margaret Heffernan described an experience she had running a company that was going out of business. Due to financial issues, Heffernan was told not only that her enterprise was being put down, she was to dodge any inquiries about the incident from her employees – keep it a secret.
The entrepreneur and former CEO though, said no. Despite the risk of anger, outrage or any other type of adverse reaction, Heffernan sat everyone down and told them the truth. One week later, another meeting was called. A security advisor suggested that he be present, as jobs and specific benefits were going to be discussed. His fear was that an employee could have an outburst.
"There was no violence. Having been kept fully informed, all the way through a difficult process, nobody felt blindsided," Heffernan wrote. "Everyone had had time to assess what the developments meant for them and how to accommodate news no one wanted but everyone understood."
A business or organization will always benefit from honesty, constructive criticism and open communication. Simply pointing out an employee's faults, for example, at a performance review, will not lead to positive results. They key is to use 360 feedback. The same way that Heffernan went the extra mile, this type of appraisal does the same.
With 360 assessments, team members are given a well-rounded picture of themselves, what they're doing well and where they can become even stronger. It's an opportunity for leaders and the rank and file to flourish on a personal and professional level.