Steps to Management Success – Step 116: Always Consider the Source

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 15th, 2010


Always Consider the Source

Whenever you hear something work-related—no matter whom you hear it from—don’t take it at 100 percent face value. Most people will not flat-out lie to your face, but they can often be very “selective” in what they tell you and how they spin it.

WHAT IT MEANS: Self-interest can be a major stumbling block to objectivity, and there are few places where self-interest is more prevalent than in the workplace. People want to keep their jobs. They want you to view them in the most favorable light. And information (or the appearance of it) is power. Bottom line: people are biased, and because of this, the truth can often get bruised and bent as people tell you what they think you want to hear—or what they would like you to believe. Listen carefully and critically, but don’t necessarily believe everything you hear. Some people are simply more reliable than others.

ACTION PLAN: Factor in the credibility track record of your source. Has she or he been reliable and trustworthy in the past? Is there anything about the content of his or her communication that doesn’t ring true? Ask questions. Dig a little deeper to separate facts from opinions. Interpretations can and will vary, but the facts shouldn’t.

EVEN BETTER: Do what journalists do—verify the accuracy of your information by checking it out with another source or two. Sometimes the story will look quite different from someone else’s perspective. Also, try to be as objective and “spin-free” as possible regarding all of your work-related communications.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

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