Scripture of the Week – Ephesians 4:25 – “Since you put away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another.”
This week we’re addressing the topic of truth. This is an important topic that follows the past few weeks on reality, boundaries and attachment. Truth is critically important to the success of your company but must be rooted in reality, set within proper boundaries, and make an effort to bond or attach with your people and your customers.
When you think of the best leaders you’ve worked with during your career and encountered during your life, how did they communicate? How much did you question the truth in their words, the politics in their considerations or the motives in their actions? Likely very little because good leaders are people of truth – they speak with clarity, confidence, insight and wisdom.
The scripture for this week is particularly important because it talks about speaking the truth in the context of community. Because you are a member of your family, your community and your organization, you have a duty to speak truth wherever possible. We’ll talk about it over the next couple weeks about how to understand truth in the context of time and to infuse truth with grace.
Early in Josh’s career, he had a unique experience of having two managers for the same role over the course of several months so he experienced polar opposite leadership styles, especially when it came to conveying truth.
The first manager was a long-term employee of the organization who had come up through the ranks but by many people within the organization was considered to be highly insecure and incompetent with a limited ceiling. However, she was considered irreplaceable by a select few that mattered because she was always on call at all hours to the SVP of Strategy and the CEO. It did not matter how bad of a people manager she was, she held closely onto her role of being the late night punching bag of her bosses. However, as a manager, no one on Josh’s team respected her, understood her motives, or made much effort beyond the minimum.
Josh tried to figure out how to navigate this perilous relationship with immense frustration, lost sleep and limited success. One of the primary problems was that no one around this leader expected her to tell the truth. She was constantly calculating the politics, communicating entirely selfish motives, and rarely speaking or acting in ways that were convincingly truthful.
About halfway into Josh’s time in this role, the organization hired someone to manage between this toxic leader and the team. It was an entirely different style. Josh came to build a deep, long-lasting relationship with this leader that continues today over a decade later. She had a way of speaking honestly, embracing the challenges of the relationships, sharing openly about the politics and trying to navigate the mixed motives of the various executives involved in several key efforts the team was responsible for delivering. Josh found himself willing to stay later, work harder and even collapse the boundaries between home and work by inviting this leader over to his home for a Christmas party that year. The other manager was never invited or even interested in anything of the sort.
What can you learn from this? Speaking and acting truthfully is a critically important ingredient to ensuring your team will follow you, work hard and seek to help you achieve your vision for the organization.
What are some ways The Consultant and The Coach help their clients with truth?
- Assess the current political and culture climate of the company, identify areas for improvement and recommend ways to improve the culture of truth and transparency of the company.
- Work with a Board to assess their CEO and executive team to help identify any deficiencies in terms of whether or not everyone in the company is communicating effectively with each and with the right level of detail, including truth.
- Help a CEO or executive conduct a 360 assessment and provide specific opportunities for improvement including how they communicate with their teams, especially looking for areas where the leader may not be trusted or being perceived as a truthful leader
- Shadow a CEO or executive through several days of meetings and work to listen to their style, assess their leadership, and observe how others are responding to them to identify and recommend improvements.
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