If only everyone else was more candid, I would be too…

If only everyone else was more candid, I would be too…

As a leader if you’ve waiting for everyone else to start modelling candour and authenticity, it might be a while. Our jobs as leaders is to model the behaviours we’d like to see demonstrated by our boss, our direct reports, and our peers.

Being candid and authentic means taking a risk to say what’s true for you, even though your opinion may not match up with the rest of the people in the room. This takes courage.  There’s a great line in the movie We Three Kings, that demonstrates this: George Clooney says, “courage isn’t what you need, courage is what you get as a result of taking a risk.” This applies 100% to candour.

Here’s what I’ve seen when teams try out candour as a new behaviour particularly during strategic planning experiences:

  • people respond by saying, “wow, I was thinking something similar but didn’t have the guts to say it out loud.”
  • other people respond to candour with comments like, “I’m so glad you had the courage to say that. I didn’t realize a lot of the facts you brought up and how passionate you are about them.”
  • teams finally talk about the “real stuff” that’s going on
  • the strategic plan ends up being far more engaging and the level of alignment around the plan just up
  • there’s an increase in ideological conflict as more conflicting ideas on what’s right for the company/organization/team come to light (a very good thing)
  • peoples true passions and excitement come alive around the key issues, opportunities, and challenges, your team is facing

If any of these sound like outcomes you’re looking for then the next step is to take a risk, experience your courage, and demonstrate to your team that you are willing to be authentic, candid, and say what’s true for you.

What’s your experience been around candour?

Mike Desjardins
Mike Desjardins
miked@virtusinc.com

Mike is a a graduate of UBC’s Sauder School of Business with a Bachelors of Commerce, Mike has spent the past 17 years transforming businesses.

4 Comments
  • Krystal Gabriel
    Posted at 22:07h, 06 March Reply

    Really enjoyed this post Mike! Reminds me of an article I recently read by Dan Pink where he pleads for us to start talking ‘Human’ in business, here’s an excerpt:

    “In business we resort to a weird and inadvertent bilingualism. We speak
    human at home and “professionalese” at work. And that might be hurting our businesses more than we realize. Think about the all-too-common phrase: “We apologize for any inconvenience this might have caused.” Would you say that to your daughter when you were late picking her up from soccer practice? To your neighbor when your dog trampled his flowerbed?
    “Any inconvenience” is emotionally anemic and lacks the specificity to make it meaningful. “We apologize” isn’t much better. It’s distancing almost to the point of dismissiveness. “When you say, ‘I’m sorry,’ you’re owning,” Fried explains. “When you say ‘I apologize,’ you’re renting.”
    Professionalese is a renter’s language. It doesn’t expect to be around for very long and has no stake in the long-term prospects of the neighborhood. It says, “mistakes were made” rather than “we messed up” and
    claims to “take responsibility” instead of acknowledging “it’s my fault.”…
    Read on at..http://danpink.s3.amazonaws.com/FLIP-Manifesto.pdf

    • Mike Desjardins
      Posted at 21:38h, 12 March Reply

      That’s great Krystal! Thank you for sharing this.

  • christiescott
    Posted at 07:16h, 12 April Reply

    Reblogged this on Employee Management and Leadership blah, blah! and commented:
    AH, so true, Mike! So, with this in mind, what will you change today?

  • Ben Gathercole
    Posted at 11:00h, 12 April Reply

    Speed of Trust by Covey helped me start demonstrating (on purpose) a lot of the behaviors I wanted to see others around me doing

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