How often do you choose to be authentic? Let’s put your choices to the test.
In meetings, do you find yourself telling the truth with statements like:
- I like your idea better than mine.
- I don’t really know what to do next. Who can help?
- I’ve been doing this for years, but my approach doesn’t seem to be working anymore.
- I don’t agree with our decision at this point. I’m struggling to support it.
I’ll admit, I don’t find it easy to make these statements. It’s just human nature to want to be right, and we fear if we aren’t we’ll lose respect and approval from others.
Authenticity Builds Alignment
In his new book, The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni says, “Most leaders have learned the art of passive agreement: going to a meeting, smiling and nodding their heads when a decision is made that they don’t agree with. Then they go back to their offices and do as little as possible to support the idea.”
John Stuart Mill, a British philosopher, believed that truth always emerges from honest argument. Have the courage to voice your dissent; don’t be a passive agreer.
Truth telling breaks down silos and builds alignment. Being authentic creates a space for shared understanding that keeps the conversation real.
The ABCs of Truth Telling
In order to build healthy teams and relationships, here are a few things to consider:
Accept what is true. The reluctance to admit our differences or mistakes is the gap between what we want to be true and what is true. Stick to the facts to close the gap.
Be open to ideas other than your own. In the classic book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie said the greatest secret to success is, “Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.”
Communicate with clarity and candor. Clarity is sticking to the facts about a situation, and candor is how facts impact the way you feel. Make a fact-based statement and then back it up with your feelings to connect “head and heart.”