Get To Work: With Suzy Welch

All successful managers share this one trait

If you're a manager who wants to get ahead at work, a simple change to how you communicate could be all you need.

"You have a weapon at your disposal, which you can unleash right now to take your career to the next level," says Suzy Welch, best-selling management author and CNBC contributor.

It's called candor, or being honest with your employees.

"I'm talking about taking the B.S. and the jargon out of your language," Welch says.

As simple as it sounds, most bosses lack this quality, she says, and it's probably holding them back.

Author and business journalist Suzy Welch.
Author and business journalist Suzy Welch.

"Think about the last performance review that you gave," Welch says. "Did you say really what you were thinking? Usually we don't."

In an effort to be kind, leaders will often tiptoe around an issue, but being candid with people is usually kinder in the long run.

"Not telling people honestly where they stand and what you think about their performance could hurt them in the end," Welch says. "Because when layoffs come around, they look at you and say, 'Why didn't you tell me I was under-performing?'"

"Candor is in very short supply." -Suzy Welch, best-selling management author and CNBC contributor

Instead of wasting your time and energy thinking about how to rephrase what you actually want to tell someone, try being honest.

"It makes things run more productively, more efficiently," Welch says.

Beloved boss Leslie Knope, character on NBC's "Parks and Recreation" played by Amy Poehler, high-fives employee Tom Haverford, played by Aziz Ansari.
NBC | Getty Images
Beloved boss Leslie Knope, character on NBC's "Parks and Recreation" played by Amy Poehler, high-fives employee Tom Haverford, played by Aziz Ansari.

Of course, adopting candor isn't the same thing as being blunt or crass with your employees, she warns. Great bosses are honest, but they don't belittle people or say out loud every negative thing that pops in their head.

This idea is echoed by top Silicon Valley CEO coach Kim Scott, whose recent book "Radical Candor" argues that the best bosses care personally and challenge directly. As Scott puts it, it's about "giving a damn," or caring enough about someone to be honest with them to encourage their improvement.

When done right, candor will strengthen your relationships with your employees, as they will come to respect your opinion, value your feedback and appreciate the opportunity to grow.

Plus, as Welch notes, using candor in your management approach will help you be more successful and productive.

"Candor is in very short supply," she says. "Every time it increases, an organization runs better and a career takes off. Let it be yours."

More from Suzy Welch: