Leaders Say Things Others Won’t Say
I have invited several top leaders, authors, and bloggers to share their wisdom with Leadership Freak readers. Thanks to John C. Maxwell for contributing this insightful post on saying things others won’t say.
One of the hardest things about leadership is when you not only have to make the tough call, but also must speak a tough truth. Saying things that people don’t want to hear is never easy. It’s never fun. It’s one of those things that many leaders wish they could delegate. But because tough news should come from the leader, it’s a weight you have to carry.
If you find yourself in a position where you have to say some hard things, take heart. Just remember:
1. It’s better for you to say it than for someone else to whisper it. Addressing tough topics on the front end helps eliminate the uncertainty and speculation that fuel destructive gossip.
2. People respect leaders who see reality clearly. When you can speak openly and honestly on difficult subjects, you show your people you understand what’s going on.
Denial is never a leader’s friend.
3. Growth comes from crucible moments. As a leader, some of your greatest growth will come from your hardest times. Being able to address even the most difficult of subjects with the people you lead will help you grow not only as A leader, but as THEIR leader. Don’t underestimate the importance of both of those things.
Over my years in leadership, I’ve had to have some uncomfortable and challenging conversations. I’ve had to dismiss employees, address mistakes, and acknowledge failures. Speaking into those tough times is never easy, but it is at the heart of good leadership.
No matter where you find yourself on your leadership journey, don’t shy away from saying the things others won’t say. Just find a way to say them with care and be willing to walk people through the aftermath. You and your people will be glad you did.
What suggestions do you have when it’s time to have uncomfortable, challenging conversations?
John C. Maxwell, a #1 New York Times bestselling author, coach and speaker, was identified as the #1 leader in business by the AMA and the world’s most influential leadership expert by Inc. in 2014. His organizations have trained more than 5 million leaders in every nation. Visit JohnMaxwell.com for more information.
I’m wary of the “crucible moment”/”tempered in the fire” mindset.
I say that because as someone who has done more than a little metalwork on both a professional and hobby basis, I’ve seen that the crucible/tempering bath is not an invariably successful process. Things shatter, crumple, oxidise or look great and then splinter the first time you use them…
Thanks Mitch. If you’re saying that crucible moments might turn out bad, I agree. It’s all about response. We will go through tough times. How we respond determines the impact on our lives.
Have a great week!
I agree, but it’s worse to not deal with the issue quickly. The key is to make sure that you as the leader are doing the best thing for the person and the team, and not your self.
The ‘tough conversation’ points are focused on the person in charge talking to staff. Leadership is not limited to those that are in charge (and have to address things like employee issues) but often comes from influential staff members. Any additions or modifications to the above ‘tough conversation’ points when that conversation needs to be aimed up rather than down the management chain?
While I agree with Mr. Maxwell’s observations, I also believe that organizational size presents an additional challenge. The larger the organization the harder it is to “speak truth” while navigating organizational competencies like “team player” while nurturing a developing career.
You’re right that leaders should say things others won’t say, but they shouldn’t necessarily be talking about the tough stuff more than everyone else. Leaders often end up speaking up because they are not making room for others to speak up.
While leaders are the formal voice of authority, leaders also need to be aware of the chilling effect they often have on a conversation. Leaders speaking first, loudest, with certainty, and last, often gets in the way of making room for others offering great questions, concerns, opinions, input, feedback, and even important challenges.
Instead of weighing “saying it” vs. better than a whisper, how about “saying it followed by inquiry that invites reaction? And instead of just saying things that others won’t say, it would be a pretty wise investment to find out WHY others won’t say. Chances are the leader can improve the environment where it’s safe for everyone to speak up.
Whatever you need to say to whomever I’d Say it. I might hate you for the truth, but later on I would thank you. That’s where I am✌🏾️
Sent from my iPhone
It depends on the level in the foodchain. As a member of a leadership team, I was the one who would say things that others spoke or, the one who would raise the questions, offer the solutions. In an unhealthy environment it is never appreciated, no matter how well communicated or sugar coated.
The qualities you have mentioned for a good leader are nice but are not exhaustive. To be a good leader we need to groom or Leadership skills at more advanced levels.