Marai on practicing Radical Honesty at work

What I especially appreciate about working with Marvin is that I keep getting surprised.

He doesn't fit in any of the "boxes" that my mind has tried to make up. I enjoy organising workshops with him, and seeing him walk his talk. The new experiences I am making through Radical Honesty is *reporting* what my body wants to do, not necessarily acting on it. I find this very helpful additional information for our shared experience, especially if the other person is also willing to share what's going on for them.

Even in work situations this has already helped me to solve three conflicts with colleagues. All are male, and in all situations I would not have said anything in former times, but would have tried to talk myself out of being angry; out of fear to be rejected. Instead I would likely have built a grudge or lost trust in our collaboration.

Practicing Radical Honesty at Work


I reached out to a colleague, asking for a clarifying conversation. I then said something like: "In the last meeting, when you spoke to others about the idea I had shared with you, my stomach tightened and I felt tears welling up. Now as we meet, I feel heat in my belly and I notice my hands clenching. I imagine I am angry and my body wants to hit you. I imagine that idea was really precious to me and I wanted to share about it myself. Since you spoke about it before me, I imagine that people will now relate it to you instead of to me. I want you to acknowledge that it was my initiative. Are you willing to do that?"

(By the way, I hadn't prepared what I would say, but it became clear to me as I was reporting out loud and transparently what was going on inside of my body, moment to moment.)

This way of honest sharing was totally new and surprising to him. 

He didn't get defensive at all, but instead went to sharing how that day he was rushed, needing to leave the meeting early, so he would be in time for an appointment with his wife and son. I learned that his son was having some trouble and they all wanted to go and see a counselor. 

He appreciates my idea a lot and had joined me in executing it. He desired to have the idea expressed to others in our group while he was still in the meeting = before he left prematurely.

We totally got each others perspective, and acknowledged where we both were coming from. Since then, whenever my/our initiative is communicated, he shares that I started it.

Our connection and trust has deepened through this conflict.

By the way: All of this happened via videoconference. What is needed is being in each other’s presence and seeing each other’s faces. Then the Radical Honesty “magic” can work its way… even at work!