I have seen it happen many times. A leader is faced with the need to present a strong opinion or some critical feedback.
When they begin to speak, they become so preoccupied with trying to be polite and tactful that they end up diluting the message to the point that it’s no longer recognizable.
Sometimes it’s so unclear that those being addressed find themselves staring with blank expressions in awkward silence, asking themselves Huh? What was that?
The speaker, who can see the connection isn’t happening, tries again. This time it’s even broader and more abstract, leaving everyone more bewildered than before.
Leaders with heart are sensitive to others. They make sure that their intentions are understood and that no one gets hurt.
Leading from within means leading with love, but sometimes we have to say something that is not entirely positive. When that time comes, we need to know what to say it, when to say it, and how to say it.
As someone who leads with heart, we have an obligation to step in and say what we need to say in a meaningful and honest way.
As leaders we must create an environment where people feel safe to be themselves and say what is on their mind—where they know that if they speak clearly and directly there will be no consequences. And we must model that kind of candor ourselves.
Not by tiptoeing.
Not by wavering.
Not by being polite.
Stop the conversation or the meeting and ask in a meaningful way, “What are we not saying that needs to be said?”
Then let’s just say it.
Lead from Within: Leading with heart can sometimes mean stepping in—when leadership is needed, when safety is warranted, and when fear keeps us polite. Lead with love and it will always set you right.
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness is being released by Portfolio May 2017.