A team I coached was struggling to confront the truth. They’d admit privately they were not speaking with total honesty.
The team members told me how they would filter their words. One person told me how she sugar coat things so it did not sound harsh. Another team member told me how they held information back, or manipulated the facts as they didn’t want to sound critical. There were plenty of ways in which the full truth was not spoken.
The team’s intention was good despite changing and withholding information. They wanted to protect their team mates from some discomfort. They did not want to be the cause of conflict.
Speak with courage
The word courage comes from the Latin word Cor, which means to speak from the heart. If you are speaking from the heart, then the only thing you can offer is the truth.
For many teams, they place a high value in getting along with each other. Getting along can feel comfortable, so it’s not hard to see how we got to this place.
However, what is the cost of getting along all the time? How much extra effort are we putting into our work simply because we want to be comfortable?
While it may be uncomfortable, it is far easier to confront the truth than to dance around it. How many work arounds and other burdens do we carry because we’re not getting to the heart of an issue?
Lead with courage
A team will only demonstrate courage up to the level of courage demonstrated by their leader.
If you notice the team does not speak with courage, start by looking at yourself. Pay attention to the times you find you are holding yourself back, sugar coating, or denying the truth.
What unintended message are you sending the team? What expectation are you setting in terms of the ability to confront the truth?
Courage means moving through, rather than avoiding, the discomfort of speaking the truth. When you find this courage, though, you will find you might just be the leader people want to follow you.
What does courage need? Courage!