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Staff speaking the truth good for firms

China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-11 07:27

IN A LETTER TO HIS EMPLOYEES, Ren Zhengfei, founder of Huawei Technologies Co, said he has promoted a staff member who reported the misconducts of his supervisor, in order to encourage all employees to speak the "truth". Southern Metropolis Daily commented on Saturday:

The Huawei founder's 160-word letter touches upon a sensitive subject: Whether it is okay to report an errant senior to the management. That Ren's letter triggered heated discussions and the "truth-speaking" employee has been transferred to another department to avoid possible personal attacks, to some extent, indicates it is not easy to dig up dirt on errant colleagues.

While submitting a report to the senior management, one is tempted to withhold some "troubling" details, which he or she believes would create "unnecessary waves" at the workplace and risk inviting retaliation from those who have been reported against. On their part, the decision-makers would love to hear some truth about the employees rather than receive plain work reports.

Speaking the truth in a workplace, of course, requires courage. By criticizing colleagues or seniors in their presence at a group meeting, an employee will not only embarrass them but also estrange them, especially if their so-called misconducts are trivial in nature.

Worse, some employees tend to draw the wrong idea that a colleague resorted to the move to seek promotion. A report offering "insightful strategies" to the management would be questionable if it comes from a novice who joined the company just a few months ago. Such "truth-speaking" could be interpreted by the managers as currying favor with the employer.

This is not to say employees should not be encouraged to speak the truth. For industrial giants such as Huawei that have expanded at unprecedented rates, their managements could become complacent like bureaucracies, which could take a heavy toll on their long-term development. By speaking the truth an employee could prevent that from happening.

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