The little white lie. Doesn’t everyone tell one, at least occasionally? Yes, this is the best apple pie in the world, or yes, that dress is very flattering. Is it really so bad to let a fib slip to avoid hurting people’s feelings?
Telling little lies can snowball into
To be a tactful adult, you sometimes have to sidestep a question or even give an outright lie. But when you are in a leadership role, can these untruths end up hurting your credibility? It’s important to tell the truth, but you can be polite and caring, and not cold and harsh.
If your grandmother or great-aunt claims that she does indeed make the world’s best apple pie, it probably IS best to agree. Unless you prefer fixing your own holiday meals! But what if a situation comes up in a meeting, and perhaps someone didn’t do the best job possible? Is it OK to brush it under the rug, or should you be truthful?
“Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.”
This doesn’t mean that you should crush other people’s feelings. And there is a difference between praising a pie and discussing work performance. Increasing your awareness can help you see the fine line between a white lie to your grandma and a lie that could impact someone’s career.
Your employees will be happier and more engaged if they respect you and the decisions you make. You, as a leader in this new Imagination Age, must have a level of agility that was unheard of in the past. New technologies, an increased understanding of neuroscience, and the ever-changing world economy require new methods and leadership styles.
As a leader, it’s best to tell the truth
Increasing your awareness is critical if you want to be an agile leader. Being aware also involves understanding how your brain works, and how to optimise the capacity of your prefrontal cortex, where your rational decision-making lies. You can learn how to give honest, constructive feedback to the members of your team.
Leadership begins with awareness and an ongoing discovery of who you are, what you stand for, and what you will fight for. The gives you the opportunity to see yourself, and how others see you. Little decisions, like telling the truth to people around you in a kind and caring manner, will snowball and have a significant, positive impact on your life.
If your best friend asks if she looks fat in a dress, what do you do? Do you tell a coworker they have spinach in their teeth? Honesty is the best policy, but you can be tactful and compassionate. These rules of common decency also apply in your professional life. As a leader, people need to know that your word can be trusted and that your actions will be agile and ready to handle the issues of today.