Lack of Candor: The Consequences in the Workplace

April 29, 2020
3 Min Read
Photo by

Candor is the cornerstone of an organization. Theoretically, it should be practiced all day every day. But, it’s common for some professionals to sprinkle in a few white lies, avoid candid chats, or even fluff up a story.

However, a lack of candor when giving professional feedback, updating your team on the status of a project, or encountering any workplace situations can lead to dire consequences that can shake up the foundation of your company.

Fun Fact: Matter dedicated an entire skill guide to candor! Be sure to get the inside scoop on our favorite candid leaders, habits to steer clear of, and mastering the art of candor.

Why do professionals lack candor?

Candor’s definition is more than just telling the truth. It’s the willingness to come forward. As you can infer, a lack of candor suggests more than just dishonesty. It’s dishonesty by omission, which means the element of directness and truth is intentionally ignored. So, what could motivate someone to lack candor?  

Hurt feelings. Who’s guilty of sugar-coating a heavy conversation to avoid hurting the other persons’ feelings? While intentions to minimize hurt feelings are genuine, evading candor discussions is damaging in the long run.

Viewed in a negative way. Almost everyone has the desire to be liked. But, speaking candidly may come at the cost of judgment if the candor isn’t well-received. To avoid that harsh light, professionals may avoid candid conversations or act diplomatically to keep their reputation at work intact.  

A lack of candor can loom over the company's atmosphere and hinder the success of cross-functional teams (Courtesy of Dribbble)

Harmful repercussions. You’ve noticed your colleague’s work hasn’t been up to par lately. And while you want to have a conversation, you fear what the impact may be on your future and the culture. So, you just ignore it. Professionals may shy away from candor out fear of being marginalized or fired from the company.

Uncomfortable side effects. We mentioned how leading a candid conversation is rooted in sincere intentions, but it may not be accepted with open arms. Candor may be met with resistance or emotions that may be awkward or uncomfortable.

The lack of candor can cost ya'

The ripple effect of lacking candor in the workplace travels beyond one or two incidents. It taints company culture, conditions self-serving attitudes, and creates an atmosphere of fear and suspicion. Be sure to pay attention to these three detrimental factors:  

Mob mentality. People are consistently influenced by their peers. As humans, we tend to adapt to behaviors that are considered the “norm.” If your office environment does not practice candid conversations, expect your team members to follow that trend.

Starting a candid conversation can be awkward or uncomfortable. But, the benefits of candor yield greater results than avoiding it all-together (Courtesy of Dribbble)

Grounds for mistrust and fear. The lack of candor creates a breeding ground for wary professionals and doubt among cross-functional teams. Without any honesty and directness, professionals may underperform costing their job.

Ideas are not challenged. If there’s a lack of candor communication on a professional’s performance, they’re being stifled. In fact, this lack of candor can deter their professional development, halt creative thinking, and ultimately impede the team and company’s success.

Companies face unpredictable challenges all the time. No matter how much you prepare, sometimes the storm is too strong to weather through. While there are variables out of your control, there are just as many in your control, like cultivating a candor culture.

Maintaining the level of straightforwardness, practicing radical candor, and encouraging teams to speak openly leads to a healthy work environment. And when that storm approaching, you’ll be ready to face it head-on.

Make employee recognition & rewards fun with Matter!
Free To Try. Easy Setup. No Credit Card Required.
Awwards cat
Awwards cat paws
Awwards ball purple
Awwards ball blue
More in
Communication & leadership