“Rajesh, the culture of this place isn’t good and we have a lot of politics. It can be toxic at times, too.”

The hiring manager told me.

It was a long time ago. I was being interviewed for a placement in a different country, where I was to lead a decent size team for a mission critical business. (Don’t try to guess. I have moved around a lot). 😀

Anyway, we had a very good chat, and after looking at all the prospects, I decided to take on that role.

The workplace was exactly as the manager had described. However, it worked out well for me because I was reporting to this honest man who took care of his people and protected them from the nonsense and the office politics.

After a few years, things became challenging when a reorganisation took place. For the short period before I decided to move on, things became difficult as everyone, who reported to this manager and was shielded from unwanted politics, finally had to deal with it.

After a while, this manager left the organisation as well (he is now a CxO at a well know company).

After joining his team, I asked him why he was so candid at the interview. Clearly, that action would have made some people reconsider joining and he may have lost a few good candidates, too.

He said that honesty was the right thing to do. If he had lied or had hidden the facts about that workplace, he could have lost respect from people who were to join his team. And once the respect was lost, his team would have become weaker, and he did not want to lead a weak team.

When I look back, I realise that it was indeed a strong team. He had hired people who were assertive, knowledgeable, empathetic, and strong. He allowed us to hire good people, too. Most of us moved on and took bigger and better roles.

Now, you may ask me why I decided to take that bet? Was I desperate? Was I a fugitive trying to leave a country? Or, was I keen to join a war zone?

None of that.

I was working at a great place. This opportunity was going to open more doors for me, which it did. This hiring manager’s honesty proved to me that I will work with a good manager. As they say, find a good boss, not a good company. In this case, I had found a good boss which isn’t easy to do.

Next question: why was he there?

Well, he was there because he went along well with most of the executives and knew how to manage them. He was also there since the very beginning and was one of the pillars of the organisation. Even the dunmb folks know that they should remove the pillars. 🙂

Honesty and respect are the key ingredients of building a high performing team. Without them, there is no trust, collaboration, or feedback. A team that values honesty and respect can communicate openly, learn from mistakes, and grow together.

In this post, I have shared an example of how honesty established a connection of trust and respect for me. I hope you found it useful and inspiring. Thank you for reading and please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

Note: The featured image is created on Bing. I used the post headline as the prompt. 

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