As a Project Manager you are constantly interfacing with clients, as well as internal staff. All Project Managers know that unfortunately, we can’t always be the bearers of good news. Every once in a while you are put in the situation where something is not going as planned. Maybe the project is a bit behind schedule, maybe a certain feature will require additional budget; whatever the case may be, these are the times when a Project Manager is faced with two options.
Option 1: Bend the truth. Use your creative genius to make up excuses, or try placing the blame on others. Under no circumstance should you reveal what the actual issue was. Go on hoping that the issue somehow does not get any bigger than it already is.
Option 2: Be honest. Tell the client or other party exactly what happened to lead to this perceived disappointment. Let them know the steps you plan on taking to move the project forward while being 100% transparent.
I am here to tell you that from my experience Option 2 is always the way to go. Transparency is key when it comes to project management. Clients are human and at the end of the day they understand that life sometimes throws us curve balls. I have found that people tend to be much more willing to accept and understand set-backs if you are upfront and honest about those set-backs.
Now, this idea of honesty does not just apply in the project manager and client relationship either, it can be extended to all other parts of ones work life. You need to be comfortable approaching co-workers or your boss and telling them the truth, even if you know if may not be exactly what they want to hear. By being open and honest with those you work with, you will build a foundation of trust, one of the most important elements in any relationship.
I will spare you the lecture on how being honest is also fundamentally important in ones personal life and sum up with the following: there will be instances when you drop the ball, and that is okay considering, as previously mentioned, we are all human. It is my finding that people appreciate honestly, and actually admire those that are genuine. Bending the truth may seem a fitting solution in the moment, but in reality, lying typically ends up coming back to bite us in the butt. Let’s be honest (no pun intended), did the “my dog ate my homework” thing ever really work for you growing up? Well, it is highly unlikely to start working for you now. As much as I hate to admit it, it appears my parents were right when they said “honesty is the best policy.”