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Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric from 1981 – 2001 – he notes in his book "Winning" that most companies lack straightforwardness.  He spoke of a conference with over 500 people who worked in business and he asked for a show of hands of who worked in an environment where people were  honest with one another.  FOUR people raised their hands.

We live in an era and a culture that does not reward candor.  In fact, when most people are honest, they are looked at as rude or brash.  Even among friends, it is rare to find people who will tell you exactly how they receive you.

Mr. Welch  makes this statement in an interview: If you reward candor, if you reward straightforward talk, you will get it.

He is speaking in the context of business.  I am wondering how do you cultivate this quality in everyday relationships?

Here are a couple of ideas - 

A) Invite honesty.  Our culture is almost anti-straightforward (although it is not as bad as some – Asian cultures and Middle Eastern societies to name a few, are notoriously polite and flattering to where I never have any idea what the other person is actually thinking  / feeling). If you don't actually invite the other person's true thoughts / feelings, you may never get them.  There are just too many cultural mores in the way.

B) Actually hear what the other person is saying.  If you get defensive, or justify or get hurt or make excuses … it will probably be the last time that person is straight with you.  It takes a ton of discipline to hear their perceptions.  Few people can do it.  But it is a skill that can be learned.

C) Have an accepting (vs critical, judgmental ) spirit. Most people won't risk honesty with you unless they feel safe.

Those are the big three for me.  Any other ideas out there on how to nurture directness within / among relationships?