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The Power of Honest Leadership


Sometimes leadership becomes a burden for some because they believe that they can't voice their truth. The belief extends to -

I can't be myself.

So as a defence mechanism, they opt to selectively tell the truth or over extend it.

Certain ecosystems can have a bias for the "lie" and that could lead to formation of such impressions. This could create an illusion that one can't survive telling the truth.

So no wonder many leaders carry the burden of the lie.

This creates a ripple effect and the team also becomes conditioned to not tell the truth.

Leadership built on lies will be like the story of emperor's new clothes. This will only lead to cheating oneself and others. Extreme versions of this kind of experience every day can lead to severe stress or distorted self image.

On the contrary, being truthful builds trust and long term relationships.

It is also instrumental in building your brand as a person with integrity.

This is also the foundation for building a high performance team culture.

Where there is space to tell the truth however bad it sounds, there are no surprises. Bad news reaches the leader faster. This allows the leader to course correct. It also helps in sustaining the leader because they can sleep well and believe in their team.

The 'real' leadership journey is about the truth and being able to express it with sensitivity and authenticity.

When a leader believes they can't tell the truth, they need to check the underlying belief(s).

I can't tell the truth because:

  1. Others may not respect me.

  2. I don't know to express the truth without hurting someone.

  3. I would not be liked.

  4. It's better to be diplomatic.

  5. I become vulnerable.

  6. Any other belief coming in the way

Once you have understood the belief(s), it is time to check their veracity using Byron Katie's 4 questions:

  1. Is it true?

  2. Is it really true?

  3. What happens when you believe the thought?

  4. Who would you be without it?

When you don't like your answer for question 3 and are open for question 4, you will shift towards who you like to be. The power of honesty in leadership is that the 'truth shall set you free'.

What does it take to be honest as a leader? The one who thinks

I can be myself. I can speak my truth.

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