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Embracing blunt communication

Embracing blunt communication: cracking the code to job wonders and mateship magic.

In the world of Kiwi professionals, the golden ticket to success isn’t held by the slickest talkers, but rather by those who communicate with honesty, openness, awareness, and who speak unarguably and listen consciously. This is the essence of candid communication—expressing thoughts, opinions, and feedback with frankness and sincerity, a practice that can have a transformative impact on your workplace performance and relationships with your work whanau.

The Psychology of open and honest korero

Speaking your mind truthfully is deeply tied to psychological principles like authenticity and emotional intelligence, and can be further understood through the lens of the social exchange theory.

Authenticity, where your actions and words match up with what you truly believe, is at the heart of candid communication. Truthfulness and openness in dialogue helps build trust and mutual understanding, which are key to any successful relationship.

Emotional intelligence – or the ability to “mentalize, the ability to recognise and understand your own feelings and those of the people around you, is critical when you communicate candidly. By being aware of your emotions and considering your colleagues’ feelings, you can frame your message in a way that will be well-received.

The social exchange theory sheds light on why candid communication can supercharge your workplace relationships. It suggests that relationships are formed and sustained based on a cost-benefit analysis. In the workplace, open and honest korero can lead to a beneficial exchange where truthfulness fosters trust, , outweighing any potential downsides, like a bit of temporary discomfort.

The Impact of speaking your mind at work

Candid communication fosters a culture of transparency and mutual respect among colleagues, leading to more effective teamwork. By sharing honest thoughts and feedback, team members can better understand each other’s perspectives and work together in a more unified way.

Being open, and speaking unarguably, about your strengths, weaknesses, and ideas encourages personal growth and team improvement. Constructive feedback helps individuals identify areas for development, while the expression of innovative ideas can drive the team’s progress.

Candid communication bolsters relationships among colleagues by promoting trust and understanding. It encourages a sense of authenticity and transparency, forming a foundation for more meaningful and productive interactions.

Lastly, candid communication contributes to a more inclusive and psychologically safe work environment. It encourages open korero about problems and solutions, creating a culture where everyone feels heard and valued.

To cultivate a habit of candid communication, consider the following strategies:

  • Practice emotional intelligence. Understand and manage your emotions to express your thoughts more effectively. Consider the emotions of your colleagues when delivering your message.
  • Be respectful and considerate: Straight-up honesty shouldn’t be an excuse for rudeness. Always express your thoughts and feedback in a respectful and constructive manner.
  • Promoting a healthy work environment contributes to a more inclusive and psychologically safe workspace. It encourages open korero about problems and solutions, creating a culture where everyone feels heard and valued. Create a culture where everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts without fear of retaliation or judgment.
  • Speak unarguably: Express your experiences without casting blame or making generalizations. Use ‘I’ statements to maintain ownership of your perspectives.
  • Listen consciously: Active listening promotes understanding and shows respect for the speaker. Reflect back what you hear to ensure comprehension and demonstrate empathy.

While you demonstrate candid communication in your interactions, show others how to do this. This not only establishes trust but also encourages others to communicate openly.

Embracing candid communication doesn’t mean ignoring the feelings of others. It’s about balancing honesty with empathy, expressing oneself authentically while respecting others’ perspectives. As we navigate the professional world in Aotearoa, fostering candid communication could be just the trick for nurturing productive work relationships and taking our performance to the next level.


By Ampara Bouwens

Ampara is an experienced Clinical Psychologist with over 19 years of experience, providing mental health services in private, governmental, and corporate sectors. She specializes in complex trauma, personality disorders, and other severe disorders, using a compassionate and non-judgmental approach to help clients regain control and autonomy over their lives. Since moving to New Zealand in 2016, Ampara has been running a successful private practice, offering personalised and effective treatment to individuals seeking to improve their mental health and well-being. Ampara is also the clinical lead and founder of MindGarage – a leading provider of psychological services, treatment, and assessment, with a team of skilled therapists who provide high-quality, personalised treatment via the same compassionate, non-judgmental approach. The MindGarage team takes a holistic approach to therapy, considering all aspects of a client’s life and offering tailor-made services to meet individual needs. MindGarage believes in empowering clients with the skills and knowledge needed to make positive changes in their lives, promoting long-term mental and emotional health.

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