The Secret to Succeeding at Tough Conversations
April 2021 • Paperback • 978-0-8024-2077-0
Overcome the fear of speaking truth by learning to do it with love.
In a society where sensitivities take precedence over honesty, it can often feel impossible to openly speak your mind. From managing conflict resolution in the workplace to navigating differences at home, many issues remain unaddressed and unresolved when you cannot speak clearly, candidly, and truthfully for fear of negative consequences.
It’s time to learn how to speak the truth in love. In Candor, you’ll learn how truth and love together can unlock pathways to more effective leadership and relationships—even in a day and age when many remain silent for fear of speaking up. Discover how speaking with sensitive and effective candor can reshape your relationships and enable you to live a life of honesty and freedom.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
CHARLES CAUSEY is a recipient of the Bronze Star for his military service in Iraq. He is the author of several books including Words and Deeds and Unbreakable: Forging a Marriage of Contentment and Delight. Married with four children, Charles graduated from the University of Colorado and holds several advanced degrees. He formerly served at the Pentagon as a senior army chaplain for the chief of chaplains in Washington, D.C., and is currently serving as a command chaplain in Honolulu, Hawaii. His website is www.causeybooks.com.
Many of us have remained silent far too long.
Poor decisions are made every day because good people with honest intentions find it hard to take action and make a stand. Instead, they suffer under intense internal pressure not to speak up. Others have stepped out and tried candor only to be punished for it.
As an example, several times during her esteemed career, political science professor Gretchen Gee spoke up regarding an issue she strongly felt the organization needed to address only to be later reprimanded. “I was called in by a leader and told I was wrong to speak up,” Gretchen recalled. “I was talked about as having ‘lost credibility,’ and I was even obliquely threatened with removal from the program I was leading.”
When people are routinely rewarded for quiet compliance and criticized for going against the flow, is it any wonder that candor is desperately lacking? It may be easier, in some respects, not to speak up about issues that concern us. It allows meetings to continue without disruption. It keeps the peace. It avoids unwanted attention. However, it does not benefit an organization at its deepest level – that of forming a bedrock of trust among its members.
Today, the perception may be that there is too much candor in our culture, especially on social media and in politics; but this is not the type of candor we’re talking about. This kind of candor as defined in this book is desperately needed and becomes a passageway in our society for greater intimacy and trust with all of our most important relationships. Family dynamics can be improved, friendships can grow, and organizations – from start-ups to behemoth tech companies – can thrive by growing in the critical area of candor.
Thankfully, some companies have not been afraid of open dialogue. Take, for instance, this well-known story from Motorola in the 1980s:
“A young middle manager…approached then-CEO Robert Galvin and said: ‘Bob, I heard that point you made this morning, and I think you’re dead wrong. I’m going to prove it: I’m going to shoot you down.’ When the young man stormed off, Galvin, beaming proudly, turned to a companion and said, ‘That’s how we’ve overcome Texas Instruments’ lead in semiconductors!'”
Companies tend to thrive when they reward candor instead of punishing it.
The former chairman and CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, has long held that institutions suffer because of a lack of candor. He went on several speaking tours and mentorship engagements with corporations exclaiming the need for it. He said that the biggest dirty little secret in business is the lack of candor in every culture, country, society, and social class.
Candor is essential regardless of the business size or mission. My sister Carol explained to me that as a college student working in a grocery store, she noticed that high school employees were allowing their friends to slip candy bars and snacks through the line without paying for them. Carol courageously stepped out, risking the relationships of those with whom she worked. When she confronted the manager about it, he did not believe her; apparently he just knew they were good kids. A few weeks later, an assistant manager told Carol that the manager realized my sister was right. He had installed cameras and discovered the high schoolers letting their friends pilfer the store. In a small way, Carol’s candor made a difference to the bottom line.
Candor is not only needed in business, but in our government, our schools, our military, our churches, our marriages, and our prayer times. Lives without candor can lead to hypocrisy, bitterness, lying, gossip, and downright division. Lives with candor are more interesting, expectant, truthful, and exploratory.
Can we really “speak the truth in love”? Chaplain Charles Causey answers “yes.” In fact, he believes it is the only way to have authentic friendships and become authentic leaders. His twenty-two strategies for overcoming fear and learning to lovingly speak with candor give practical help for all who aspire to genuinely help others.
– Gary D. Chapman
Author of The 5 Love Languages
As a woman with extensive ministry experience in a milieu dominated by men, I can tell you that my lack of candor has frequently been driven by a deep concern over being punished. In Candor, Charles Causey has provided a vital resource for those needing to speak truth in environments that might not welcome candor, and a timely tool for leaders at all levels who need to actively seek and thoughtfully listen to feedback from others.
– Gretchen Knudson Gee
Principal Lecturer, President’s Distinguished Teaching Fellow, Northern Arizona University
In Causey’s latest writing, he unpacks a societal truth that can no longer be ignored. Candor, or being forthright, honest, and sincere, is a social skill that needs to be sharpened for us to grow in relationships and community. If recent years have taught us anything, it is that too many people don’t know how to speak the truth in love. This will help and is much-needed writing for this time in history!
– Tony Miltenberger
Lead Pastor, Restoration Church, Centerville, OH, and host of the Reclamation Podcast