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August 17, 2023

Petar Kralev

Dare to be Honest: It’s the Key to a Better Us at Work

Why I dare you

In the professional world, there is one value that towers above the rest – honesty. I vividly recall when I personally experienced the transformative power of honest feedback. It was during a crucial project presentation when my team lead took me aside for a candid conversation. Her sincerity and genuine concern for my growth left a lasting impact on both me and my career - let's just say there were areas for improvement in my body language. What that conversation also did is to open my eyes to the immense power of candor in the workplace.

Honest doesn’t mean mean

Honesty in feedback goes beyond just providing critical comments.

It’s about being forthright and transparent in our actions, words, and interactions with colleagues and employees alike. Honesty in feedback doesn't mean delivering unfiltered criticism that could dishearten individuals. Instead, it's about offering constructive guidance that empowers them to improve.

The need for genuine and constructive feedback has never been greater, but in reality, the path to honesty is far from straightforward.

I Get it: the Workplace is not Set for Honesty

The noble pursuit of honest feedback faces seemingly insurmountable barriers in practice.

Barrier 1: The Manager filter

Conventional methods of feedback tend to be organized top-down, with supervisors providing evaluations to their subordinates. While this structure may work in some cases, it often limits the flow of candid feedback. Employees might feel hesitant to share their true thoughts, fearing potential repercussions or a negative impact on their social standing within their team. And managers often feel pressure - be it real or imaginary - to sugarcoat and/or minimize more pointed truths.

Barrier 2: Office politics

Furthermore, office politics can muddle the feedback process. In hierarchical organizations, employees might be apprehensive about offering constructive criticism to higher-ups or colleagues in influential positions. They may worry about damaging relationships, career advancement prospects, or even job security. As a result, vital feedback that could lead to growth and improvement remains stifled within the confines of organizational hierarchy.

Barrier 3: Lack of anonymity

Traditional systems often lack anonymity, causing employees to feel exposed and vulnerable when sharing their thoughts openly. Without anonymity, individuals may hold back their genuine opinions to avoid confrontation or potential conflicts, limiting the feedback's honesty and effectiveness. This fear of being judged or misunderstood can prevent valuable insights from being expressed.

Reset the Workplace for Honesty

These obstacles are surmountable only if we think deeply about resetting them. We must embrace a new way of thinking about feedback:

Reset 1: Feedback doesn’t need to be administered or filtered via a manager

After all, it’s the broken telephone of “managed feedback” that causes honest feedback to be filtered, watered-down, sugar-coated, or whatever other cooking metaphor we can think of. To break free from this cycle, organizations must reimagine feedback delivery, fostering a culture of open and transparent communication that empowers employees at all levels to share their thoughts candidly.

Reset 2: An auto 360° feedback could neutralize office politics

Implementing a powerful, standardized, and full-circle feedback mechanism can help dismantle hierarchical barriers and promote a more egalitarian feedback culture. Imagine what happens when such an approach becomes the new normal, business as usual, and automatic feedback is solicited from all sides and distributed to all who should know it.

Reset 3:  Anonymity in feedback could be guaranteed by a trusted arbiter

Implementing a feedback app that brings trust in the process can be a game-changer. Such an app could provide a secure platform for employees to anonymously share their thoughts, suggestions, and concerns without permitting HR or administrators from ever accessing the raw attributable data. This would finally secure a safe communication channel for employees to be heard without any perceived risk of retaliation.


In a world where honest feedback seems elusive, daring to be honest becomes an act of bravery. Acknowledging the challenges in the current feedback landscape opens the door to positive change.

Honesty in feedback is possible if we work to reset the barriers that stand in the way.

Let us strive for a workplace culture that values honesty, transparency, and growth, where employees feel safe to express themselves and where constructive feedback is celebrated as a catalyst for improvement.

What happens next?

If you dare to be honest, we should work to reset the workplace for honesty.

In the meantime, there is My Mirror 360.