Leaders do not always face easy choices. Sometimes, they try to avoid telling the truth until it is too late. How do we eliminate the urge to stay silent and instead be brave enough to create an environment for telling the hard truth?
While it might be tempting to take the easy way out, in the end, the choice to have courageous conversations will garner respect.
One year into starting one of my businesses, we were on the brink of insolvency. I had to tell the stakeholders why they should believe in us. This was a defining, resilience-building moment. Maintaining integrity was key. I had to tell the truth—the whole, uncomfortable truth.
I was able to turn the ship around by harnessing honesty and authentic communication. After that roller coaster experience, I had a better appreciation for the importance of my role as a leader and what the different stakeholders expected of me.
People respect fearless, decisive leaders who are not shy about having difficult conversations. The more you avoid the truth, the greater the price you are likely to pay in terms of loss of loyalty, frustration, and distrust. The more you demonstrate honesty, even when it’s difficult, the more likely the people who work with and for you will follow your lead.
Artwork by: Volodymyr Hryshchenko