Shackled Truth: Words Left Unsaid

Don’t shackle your truth. When you leave words unsaid. Your team loses, your world stays unchanged, and you know it could be better.

I worked this week with a mix of fantastic leaders across a spectrum of leadership roles and industries in a keynote I gave at the International Customer Service Association. 

Early in the game, I asked each person to write down a “strong leadership strength which they frequently hide.” I was surprised and saddened by the #1 answer.

Telling the Truth

Folks yearn to tell the truth, share their knowledge, and express their opinions but are slowed by fear of:

  • Authority
  • Backlash
  • Upset employees
  • Not being accepted
  • Failure
  • Consequences
  • Bosses
  • Losing my position

“What if I’m wrong?” or “my boss disagrees” “I don’t fit in.” “there are other strong voices in the room.” The fear of these vital leaders is also your fear, my fear, our fear.

Unschackled Truth

“Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing the matter with this, except that it ain’t so.”
~ Mark Twain

We work so hard to unshackle truth. Scar tissue, dynamics, fear of losing the familiar, keep us cautious. Your team may be holding back more than you think. A few thoughts on unshackling:

  • Ask questions for which you have no idea of the answer
  • Tell the truth (up, down, and sideways)
  • Listen more than is practical
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Take deliberate actions on what you hear
  • Recognize the truth sayers

*Photo by Larry Kohlenstein