The one where honesty is the best policy

Sometimes we (for that read me) are prone to over complicating something that could be very simple. I’ve realised on reflecting that at times one of themes of my over complication is that I am loath to confront an issue or challenge a senior leader and rather than fronting up to it I try and think my way out of it.

One such situation arose recently. The context is not important but due to some very genuine real life issues a leader had to postpone some events internally. Some time has elapsed since the original postponement and it’s only now that we’ve got around to catching up. In pulling these sessions together I have been internally arguing with myself (I always win in the end) as to the best and most appropriate way to handle this whilst not putting the audience on the receiving end of a trumped up load of nonsense.

Having finally landed on a fairly bland and generic comment we ‘went for it’ yesterday morning and one of the leaders in our organisation knocked my socks off. He stood in front of about 100 people and without hint of preparation or discomfort honestly and openly explained what had happened and why postponing the sessions had been the right thing to do. Looking around the group there wasn’t one person in the room who looked like they wanted to argue with him and his action demonstrated to me that I could have made this all far more simple.

For all the obsession with authenticity in leaders to see this guy stand there and without hint of ego honestly explain and ask for consideration and compassion from a group of people was amazing and probably even more amazing for a few simple reasons:

  1. No one had suggested he did it
  2. It was the truth
  3. He REALLY meant it

As I sit here writing this I realise the irony is that if I had suggested it then the result would have been just slightly less compelling but sometimes life is ironic – like the irony of me being one of the few people who understood what it took to stand there and say that. I suppose sometimes you just have to stop being a control freak and allow good people to be good.

Anyway it made me realise that in all the noise and nonsense that I deal with regularly there are times when doing what I do is actually a privilege

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “The one where honesty is the best policy

  1. Great post. And yet I am amazed and angered that this behaviour you describe remains the exception not the norm, pretty much everywhere. Befuddlement, control (which is largely an illusion), avoidance (of conflict, the truth, whatever) and bullshit do not a good workplace make. I hope there were more than a ‘few who understood’ but if not, it now becomes even more important that you and the few follow this guy’s example. Take courage, take part.

    Happy Tuesday!

  2. Pingback: A different story…. « fuchsia blue

  3. It is so interesting what you say here the level of impact that this leaders sharing of his vulnerability had on his audience. I am facinatated by how much showing vulnerability affects one’s ability to connect with others and how essential it is in enroling individuals and groups. On a personal level I so often fall into a default pattern of behaviour which sees me work at being bomb proof and hiding my vulnerability. Recent forays into sharing breakdowns where normally I would’nt has shown me just how much more connected an audience is with someone who stands before them and isnt too shiny. It is something I am having to conciously work on every day.

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