Speak the truth, respectfully
How often have you seen people avoid telling the truth at work? They say things to please others or to avoid being different or controversial. Authentic leaders buck this trend. They avoid hurting people with a truth that is stated too bluntly, but they do not shy away from being honest and talking the truth. It takes courage to say things that really matter, especially when people really don’t want to hear. Do what is right not what is easy. One of the most important acts of leadership communication, is to provide context – even when that context is unsettling.
Again, you need to be aware of whether people perceive that you are prepared to talk about the ‘elephant in the room’. Ask your trusted colleagues whether they think that you always tell the truth, or that you are always prepared to raise truths that need to be addressed. Always make sure that as a leader you are a soothsayer – a bringer of truth.
These 10 exercises will help you to make yourself known to your employees, your customers and other stakeholders upon whom you depend for success. They will help you to be yourself better and form stronger, more supportive relationships. Relationships are the engines of success, and you’ll never have strong relationships if you don’t let people know who you are as a person.
If your sense of purpose and your values can power your leadership, then it is also true that an inspiring purpose and a strong set of values can power a whole organization. A clear and motivating mission alongside a strong set of values can help shape decisions to be made throughout the organization, by leaders everywhere, as we will see in the next chapter.