I use to say that you can’t lose being honest with me. There is no potential downside – only upside. I have no problems with critical opinions on me, others or the organization we’re part of. I don’t necessarily have to agree with these opinions but I want, and need, to know them. After all, if I don’t know you don’t like something odds are I won’t do anything to change it.
I know there are different managers out there and openness and honesty don’t have to work equally well in each case. However, if you have to hide your opinions and play someone else to survive in a decent health in the organization then, well, I wouldn’t like to be a part of such company in the first place.
For the sake of this argument consider you really can openly talk with your bosses about your problems and frustrations, if you have any. Will you just be honest like you’d be when describing the situation to your friend over a pint of beer?
From my experience: many people are not.
I don’t get it. Let’s say my decision pissed you off or you felt my opinion was unfair. We can sit down and discuss it through. I make mistakes. Everyone does. I change my mind when I face reasonable arguments. So please, challenge me. Challenge my opinions and my decisions.
When your only reaction is venting in front of your colleagues then you do no good to me, to the company and, most importantly, to yourself. What are you trying to achieve that way? Is that what you believe works in the long run? I mean, really?
If you choose being honest, be honest consequently. Being so only to some point is um… quite the opposite of being honest.
I have one more advice: even if you don’t trust your manager give them a try. Maybe they won’t appreciate your open and straightforward attitude. In such case your situation will suck anyway so you don’t lose much. Fortunately, there are many managers who don’t work that way and you just can’t lose being honest with them.
Like me, for example.