Why honest communication is critical to a successful construction project.

In the construction industry you have a lot of stakeholders and partners to work with.  This makes teamwork really important.  In order to foster a good team environment, trust is priceless.  Trust is built over many weeks and months of good will and cooperation, but trust can be broken in a single moment of weakness.

Our human condition is inherently defensive.  It’s common to behave evasively or defensively when we make mistakes, but in order to retain trust, we have to avoid reverting to this basic instinct.

Although the repercussions of a mistake could be difficult to bear, the impact of obfuscating or deflecting responsibility has far greater implications.  Here are a few reasons why being forthright is the best policy.

Promotes problem solving

All projects encounter problems, the ability to promptly and effectively solve problems is critical to success.  When the team communicates honestly and completely with each other, problems can be mitigated.  Often when problems are revealed early, the impact of mistakes can be minimal.  Conversely, when problems are ignored or hidden, the issues becomes more difficult to overcome.  Communicate your mistakes promptly.  You may be pleasantly surprised when your team rallies behind you to mitigate your mistake so they have no impact at all.

Avoid conflicts

Nothing raises ire and frustration on a job site more than failing to own and acknowledge mistakes.  Conflicts on the job result when one person appears to make more work for others.  Revealing a mistake and owning the resolution of the mistakes is an effective way to avoid conflicts.  When others see you’ve been honest about your mistake, they are likely to respect you.  This helps them trust you and also promotes honesty from others.

Promotes good will and cooperation

When mistakes happen and you take responsibility for it, others appreciate you more.  Most can empathize with someone who makes mistakes because they know that one day it could be them.  When you own your mistakes, others are likely to help with its resolution.  The act of recognizing your error and then working to correct it shows you are honorable and trustworthy.  People naturally gravitate towards trustworthy individuals and makes them want to work with you.

Promotes quality

The combination of good will and trustworthiness resulting from your honesty simply leads to higher overall results.  When people enjoy coming to work their work products is better.  An honest and cooperative work environment produces good results consistently.

Regardless of whether the news is good or bad, being able to rely on accurate honest information is paramount.  Maintain your integrity throughout every project (even when things go bad).  Team members and colleagues will stick by your side when they know you can be trusted.  No one is expected to be infallible but honesty throughout breeds a positive and nurturing work environment that can overcome most problems effectively and with minimal impact.

I have framed the benefits of honesty in the context of a construction team, but I think these benefits hold for all aspects of your life.

What do you think?  Are there times when you shouldn’t be honest?  Were there times in your life where you were honest and wished you hadn’t?

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