How Do You Rate on the BS Scale?
How many times have you heard someone say “That’s bullshit” at work?
A lot I bet.
This phrase might sound like someone venting their frustrations, but could it also be a red flag that merits more attention? The researchers who came up with the Organizational Bullshit Perception Scale
(OBPS) think so. There is now an official scale for BS in the workplace. I think it’s about time.
Most organizations have at least a few leaders who rate very high on the OBPS. From what I see, it’s not so much that they are intentionally misleading. Rather, in an effort to avoid disappointing people or control how others react, they fail to develop real candor. They allow bullshit to infiltrate and breed within their organization. And worse, they spread BS themselves.
If you recognize your high placement on the OBPS, what can you do as a leader to lower your rating on this scale?
- Be direct. Remember that you can be direct while also being empathetic and kind.
- Don’t equivocate. When there are multiple factors in a decision, address them separately and specifically. Acknowledge what you don’t know.
- Don’t use corporate speak. Ambiguous language, jargon, and terms with multiple meanings are frequently used to avoid telling the entire truth. People numb out.
- Don’t lie. Not falsifying is obvious to most. It gets more nuanced when it comes to what you don’t share, which is concealing and a form of lying. You can absolutely keep confidential information and not mislead others.
- Treat people like they are intelligent. Know your audience and speak at their level. Don’t patronize or obfuscate your message.
Remember, people have a sense for leaders who are not genuine. And if you suspect that another leader rates high on the OBPS, perhaps you can forward them this newsletter as something interesting to read!