One of the more interesting aspects of Tell the Truth without Blame or Judgment is ‘authenticity’. It is critical that leaders reveal themselves – some might say that it should only be in a very calculated, measured way. Others might say that it is easier to build trust when leaders let it all hang out. The jury is out for me but there are a couple of things that are really clear:
- Leaders must reveal enough of themselves that people can recognize them as fellow human beings and find something to connect with. A little vulnerability, a little sadness, pride in a child – something.
- Leaders can and should show emotion – both positive and negative – but they must also demonstrate that they have mastery over their own emotions and will not let emotion control their choices or action. Self control and the observable demonstration of self control is critical.
- Under no circumstances does it serve a leader to show contempt or derision for a follower. Or for anyone in front of anyone but the closest and most trusted.
- Leaders can respond to just about anything, but it makes most sense to choose to respond to what has heart and meaning – to explore and expand on ideas that will make an impact in the memory.
I am a fairly spontaneous person, and I love to entertain using language. I once had an employee say to me “you just say whatever comes into your head don’t you? I just love how authentic you are.” All I could wonder is ‘are you kidding?’ Because the answer is, although on the rare occasion my mouth gets ahead of my brain (ok maybe less rare than I’d like) , generally I am very careful about what I choose to say. I show just enough so that my people know what it is important to me, how I think about things, and how I make decisions. If I said everything that came into my head I would be out of a job and probably in jail. With no friends.
More on this topic next time.