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Strive To Be Candid and Honest
By Myrna Pashinski
Rocky Mountain Area Vice President
I want to discuss a topic I feel needs attention: candor. The definition of candor is unreserved, honest or sincere expression: forthrightness.
Over my 36 years of being involved with NAPS, being honest and forthright has, from time to time, been brought up in respect to answering questions during investigative meetings.
NAPS officers have addressed the need to always present the truth during investigative interviews or due processes, while keeping responses short and concise. Being honest and candid typically will set a person free; too often, though, people edit the truth or give only snippets of the entire story. These snippets, if you will, may cause more deception than one might have intended.
In training provided by USPS Legal Department representatives, lack of candor has been presented as a charge difficult to defend. While being candid in an investigation may offer a small sample of the truth regarding the situation, it lends itself to leaving out critical parts of the story. In training provided by NAPS officers, we stress being short and concise in answers given in an investigative interview or due process. However, being honest is the most important thing. Is it possible to be honest in an interview, while not being viewed as demonstrating a lack of candor? Yes, I believe you can be honest and candid.
Whatever the situation, even if you are wrong, being honest is paramount. In a situation where you are being asked for or giving information to a group that expresses why you have done something, keep in mind the devil is always in the details—or in what details you omit.
If you are new to your position, do your best to always be honest and candid. Do not try to cover the situation by editing the truth to a level where it causes more questions than necessary. If you know in your heart that, with a little more investigation, it can be determined you not only gave just a snippet of the truth, but also left out important information, it may cause deep regret for you later. Be forthright in your responses and the information you share professionally and during investigations.
Honest mistakes, in most cases, can be overcome if you are humble and acknowledge you made a mistake and do what you can to correct it. Shifting blame to others only will cloud the issues. If others have not, by your definition, been as honest or candid as you believe they should have been, don’t try to throw that person under the bus in an effort to free your own conscience.
Unless you have all the details of that person’s situation, it only makes you look foolish when you attempt to shift blame by saying, “If that person can get by in a similar situation, I should be able to get by, too.” The two situations—as similar as they may seem—may be far from the same story.
In all situations professional, personal and during an investigation, please remember the definition of candor: unreserved, honest or sincere expression: forthrightness.