I was talking with a small group of leaders. The conversation got to a point of talking about intentions versus what's likely and our tendency to not be open about the differences. To not be open about the known barriers. To not be open about our expectations about how managers ought to prevail in the face of these barriers.
Why do we have such a hard time being real when we communicate?
I think this common failing leads to greater victim-itis. Why? When employees hear the corporate line - intentions without the real - they write off the message as unrealistic. If we speak our intentions and then openly discuss what this means and where it will be difficult, we build ownership.
Real -> Ownership
Corporate Line -> Victim
Given this, why is real communication so rare?
Let's take some time to discuss the tasks that don't make sense, address concerns, invite a challenge, and be open about goals that stretch way out there. What are the hassles? What are we doing that we should not be (everyone knows it)?
Don't paint your organizational "turds" pink. Doing so will not make the situation smell any better. It will cause people to disconnect, shrug off accountability, and under perform. Call it like you see it. Encourage others to call it like they see it.
BTW - On a related but different note, I have noticed that the less cocky I am about my work the better people think it is. It's nutty. I have been embracing my imperfectness and am getting more atta-girls and wows from others. Being real make you seem less flawed in others' eyes. Go figure.