Truth: Love Works Wednesday Link Up Week 6 – Truthful

Today is Day 3 of Truth Week here on The Stretched Blog, and we continue the Wednesday series based on Love Works by Joel Manby.  In today’s post, Bill Grandi (The Cycleguy) and I are discussing the seventh chapter (Truthful:  Define Reality Corporately And Individually).  Check out Bill’s take by clicking here.

As a reminder, Manby’s premise is that leadership is best when it comes from a position of agape love based on I Corinthians 13 (“…[love] rejoices with the truth”).  Since I already read the book, I thought it would be interesting to highlight some of the sentences I underlined when I read the book initially:

  • “If we love our team, it is critical that their talented voices are heard and their opinions considered.” (p. 118)
  • “Most people don’t leave because of poor performance; they leave because they don’t feel valued.” (p. 118)
  • “Leading with love also means doing the best thing for the organization to protect or add as many jobs as possible for those we care about.”  (p. 118)
  • “A healthy organization does the most good for the greatest number of people.”  (p. 118)
  • “[People] need truthful, direct feedback and follow-up to help them refine their performance and attitude to become fantastic – not just good – leaders.”  (p. 121)
  • “Leading with love means caring enough about an individual or a team to give and solicit truthful feedback.  When leaders provide their teams with the truth about their performance as well as the tools to be successful, regardless of personal feelings, this is a sure sign of leading with love.”  (p. 122)
  • “There is almost no greater gift in life than honest friends, and all leaders need to hear the truth about who they are and the nature of their strengths and weaknesses.”  (p. 130) [Great follow-up to yesterday’s post – Truth:  Truth Or Dare.]
  • “Leading with love begins with an honest assessment of yourself, and self is the one person you can never be absolutely honest with.”  (p. 130) [Ties into Monday’s post – Truth:  You Can’t Handle The Truth.]

Getting truthful feedback and giving truthful feedback is essential to leading well.

Leaders who hole themselves up in their “ivory” offices or cubicles without mingling with their team will soon lose touch with the truth they need to hear, and they’ll fail to get their messages of truth across with any kind of effectiveness.

Honestly, I have felt this way at times in my own leadership in the corporate world.  Policies and procedures easily become the focal point instead of people.  Our leadership loses its way when policies push aside people.  This is the same for companies, schools, churches, and government.

When it comes down to it, leaders must open their ears to hear what their employees have to say.  They must open their mouths to extend truthful feedback to their team members.  And they must take action in a way that demonstrates they have listened and in a way that models desired behavior.

Here are five simple suggestions for encouraging truth in your organization:

  1. Provide a platform for team members to voice their ideas, concerns, and questions.  This could be an employee survey, a department meeting, a suggestion box, or a one-on-one meeting.  As Manby shares in this chapter, this step is absolutely critical so our team members know that they are valued.
  2. Be truthful with your team members.  On a broader level, share details that impact the whole team.  This could be done at a Town Hall meeting, a department meeting, or through an e-mail.  On an individual level, meet with team members on a regular basis. Use this time to provide updates on performance progress and to address any specific corrections.  Don’t shy away from these opportunities as they provide an opportunity to help team members grow and develop.
  3. Take action and draw team members into the solution.  When ideas or problems come up that require action, get your team involved to brainstorm ideas and to implement steps for correction or improvement.  This will show the team that you care and it will help team members to embrace the solution.
  4. Don’t rest on your laurels.  Just because something worked at one time doesn’t mean it will continue to work without attention.  Being true to our organizations, team members, and to ourselves requires continuous monitoring and continuous improvement.
  5. Document.  Document.  Document.  It’s so important to document feedback to and from team members.  This is one method for holding each other accountable to actions required of the truths uncovered along the way.  Following up with e-mailed meeting minutes is a great way to capture truth and to make sure everyone is in agreement.

Part of leading with love involves leading with truthfulness.  As leaders, we have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to make sure truth prevails in our organizations.

Over the next three weeks, Bill and I will continue to explore love based leadership.  I hope you’ll read along, jump into the comments, and maybe even change the way you lead.  Until then, consider getting a copy of Love Works for yourself, and see how this book might change you and your leadership.

What is one thing you can do differently this week to become a more truthful leader?  How have you been led with truthful, love-based leadership?