Leader – You Need To Tell The Truth

Read Time ~3 Minutes

Leadership Lesson: Lying will ONLY hurt you.

One of the quickest ways for a leader to lose influence is to muddy the truth about a decision, a threat to performance or credibility (even if this is another teammate), or a personal or team mistake.

“Truthful lips will be established forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment.” (Proverbs 12:19, NASB95)

You’re going to get things wrong.

On a day-to-day basis you can afford to make mistakes, but you can’t afford to lose the trust of your team.  The people who help you execute the vision of the organization are your greatest asset. 

You need them to buy into YOU not just the vision (the former actually more important than the latter).  And that is something they will not be able to keep doing if they lose trust in you.

1. Tell The Truth When You’ve Made The Wrong Call

Dude, just own it. 

You’re not the leader because you ALWAYS make the right decision. 

Problems happen. Unforeseen realities show up on the front door. 

Your job is not to spin it so you look good but be the one BOLD enough to confront the brutal facts (*See Jim Collins, Good to Great, Chapter 4) so you can FIX the problems. 

The more decisions you’re responsible to make, the more you need to accept that a certain percentage of those decisions are going to be weak, wrongly calibrated, or just straight up wrong.

Dodging responsibility stops forward progress and teaches everyone that you have YOUR best interest in mind – not theirs or the organizations.

Bonus, you GAIN credibility when you own that you made a mistake.  If they can trust you to tell the truth HERE, they can also trust you to tell the truth NEXT time. (And if this is true for organizations, how much MORE is it true for families?).

2. Tell The Truth When You Have To Give Feedback.

Most people really DO want to do their best. 

As their leader, YOU’RE ACCOUNTABLE to help them do just that.  

If you have eyes to see where someone’s behavior is hurting the team, you need to be HONEST for their sake, for your own, and for everyone else.  

If you shape the truth about someone’s performance or character differently than it was, it will come back to bite you – either in a discouraged team, more wrong behavior (and the problems this causes), or both. 

Give them an accurate appraisal of 

  • All they’re doing right that helps the team or organization.
  • The one or two decisions/behaviors/actions that they don’t have right which are actually hurting the culture, win, etc.

Correct compassionately, but don’t create or contribute to a situation where there is fuzziness about a performance that is hurting the team.  

You don’t want to do this again later.

Leadership Lesson: Lying will ONLY hurt you.

Lord, place a guard over my mouth. I don’t want a dishonest tongue to disqualify me from leading.  Give me the grace to speak the truth in love, even when it seems like it could hurt me in the short term. Help me trust that You are eager to establish the words of those who will fear you enough to tell the truth.

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Posted on July 10, 2018

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Bible Leadership is a ministry of Fierce Church.

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