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Nov 30, 2006

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Communicate truthfully and effectively

The Monkey and the Dolphin, Aesop's fables

Integrity is the foundation upon which the other elements of
character are placed. A leader has to be true to his values and
honest in his deeds and words. Once you have proven that
you are worthy of respect and trust, whatever unpopular
decisions you have to deliver will sound palatable to the
audience. Good management requires a constant stream of
communication with the employees, clients and stakeholders.
Keep it as truthful as possible. Once you are found to have
lied, it will be a daunting task to regain that confidence and
trust in you. Many a politician have bowed out of the political
scene on this ground.

Story:

The Monkey and the Dolphin

The Monkey and the Dolphin

(Illus by Arthur Rackham)

A Sailor, bound on a long voyage, took with him a Monkey to
amuse him while on shipboard. As he sailed off the coast of
Greece, a violent tempest arose in which the ship was wrecked
and he, his Monkey, and all the crew were obliged to swim for
their lives. A Dolphin saw the Monkey contending with the
waves, and supposing him to be a man (whom he is always
said to befriend), came and placed himself under him, to
convey him on his back in safety to the shore. When the
Dolphin arrived with his burden in sight of land not far from
Athens, he asked the Monkey if he were an Athenian. The
latter replied that he was, and that he was descended from
one of the most noble families in that city. The Dolphin
then inquired if he knew the Piraeus (the famous harbor
of Athens). Supposing that a man was meant, the Monkey
answered that he knew him very well and that he was an
intimate friend. The Dolphin, indignant at these falsehoods,
dipped the Monkey under the water and drowned him.

Moral:

Those who pretend to be what they are not, sooner or later,
find themselves in deep water.
Your lies will always find you out.

Kidding me:

Misunderstandings can lead to disasters. The Dolphin was
quite obviously not as well-read as the intelligent Monkey.
The greek mythology, The Odyssey, by Homer did have a
character named “Piraeus”. Perhaps the Monkey thought the
Dolphin was testing its intellect, and replied that it knew the
character so well that it regarded him as its intimate friend.

Funny Macdonalds Job Application Joke

Quotable Quotes:

“Nobody speaks the truth when there's something
they must have.” ... Elizabeth Bowen

“You actually lead by being very honest with
people.” ... Michael Owen Edwardes

“The great man ... simply speaks and does what is
right.” ... Mencius

“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to
perceive his deception, the one who lies with
sincerity.” ... Andre Gide

“Let us say what we feel, and feel what we say.”
... Lucius Annaeus Seneca

“If you tell the truth you don't have to remember
anything.” ... Mark Twain

[browse collection of quotes and quotations]

Lessons in life:

How many times have we tried to cover up our shortfalls with
lies and brags? There are countless occasions when we have to
speak untruths, from wooing girlfriends to impressing big
Bosses. Often, there is no ill intent. I think it is human nature
to lie (coincidentally, monkeys and humans have the same
ancestors). Especially in social settings where we have to make
small talk, we tend to say things to boost our profile and status.
Personally, I respect staff who are honest about their knowledge
and capabilities. Consider a situation where a job seeker adds a
lot of hype into his resume in order to clinch a job. This results
in an increase in expectations by the employer. If he fails to
perform to that level of expectation, he is likely to be kicked
out of his job. Conversely, consider another situation where a
job seeker admits to his shortfalls, but lets the employer know
he is willing to work hard to improve. The employer might give
him a chance to try out the job, and with hard work, the
employee is likely to surpass the employer's expectations. I
would advise all bosses and managers to be honest with their
staff as well. If you do not have an answer to a question, just
admit that you do not know, but will get back with an answer
soon. Giving a lot of "hot air" in response to a question is the
surest way to lose respect from the staff. If this happens in
public during a media conference, it will also invite massive
criticism from analysts and professionals who can easily
sense a lie.

Related Articles:

Give genuine appraisals
Effective and Efficient Meetings
Learn the Art of Saying NO

Books worth reading:

Dale Carnegie is undoubtedly the authority on people skills.
In his book, How to Win Friends & Influence People, you
will learn that financial success depends largely on “the
ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse
enthusiasm among people. You will learn the six ways to make
people like you, the twelve ways to to win people over, and the
nine ways to change people without resentment.

Parents always gripe about not understanding their children.
My answer is that communication is a two-way thing. For those
with kids, this book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen
So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish is a
communication tool kit you should consider getting. Other
than nice illustrations to bring out certain techniques, it provides
exercises aimed at improving your ability as a parent to talk
and problem-solve with your children.

© Business Fables and Management Lessons

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