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Loving Monday: Tell Yourself the Truth

loving_mondayToo many leaders are unable or unwilling to tell people the truth.

It is sad but true.

This inability to trust others with the truth covers myriad facets of work life. The truth about company finances, the truth about impending lay-offs, the truth about promotion prospects, the truth about changing deadlines, the truth about management planning… and the list goes on.

Today I want to focus on the unfortunate reality that so many leaders cannot tell you the truth about you.

FACT: Everyone has strengths, skills, talents and abilities. Therefore there is always something to affirm, empower and reward about everyone on the team.

FACT: Everyone is imperfect, learning, makes mistakes, chokes, falters, and fails on occasion. Therefore there is always room for constructive confrontation.

If leaders could tell people the truth about themselves, they would never be at a loss for extending compliments, expanding responsibilities or extending rewards. At the same time, in the ordinary course of events, leaders would be pointing out areas for improvement, countering mistaken thinking, and confronting unacceptable behavior.

If leaders could tell people the truth. But most can’t.

We could analyze why so many leaders are loath to either extend compliments or confront problems, but I want to focus on what we can do. What you and I can do.

We can tell ourselves the truth about ourselves.

If others can’t, then we need to be able to give ourselves this crucial gift.

Let’s go back to our two core facts. Everyone has something valuable to contribute, and everyone is imperfect and fails occasionally.

Can you identify for yourself what you bring to the table?

  • What are five attributes about yourself which add significant value to your work?
  • List three ways you are wonderfully distinct from everyone else on the team.
  • For which achievements over the past three months are you most proud? Over the past year?

Don’t be shy. Don’t be modest. Tell yourself the truth.

You may be the only person who does!

Can you identify for yourself where you need to grow, improve, learn, or make corrections?

  • What tasks or people do you tend to avoid? Reflect on why that might be the case.
  • Over which subjects or tasks do others tend to avoid you or complain about you? Again reflect on where there may be substance.
  • On which topics do you find yourself feeling either the most personally defensive or the most critical of others?

Don’t be afraid. To be imperfect is simply a fact, not a judgment. Tell yourself the truth.

Again, you may be the only person who does!

Telling yourself the truth about your strengths and achievements will keep you grounded and encouraged about your intrinsic value to the team.

Telling yourself the truth about your weaknesses and failures will keep you grounded and sober about your ongoing need to continually learn, improve and grow.

Both are good things. Both are true things you tell yourself to great benefit. Both are things you need to tell yourself until more leaders learn how to tell the truth.

Tell yourself the truth about you.

On your side,

– Karl Edwards

Loving Monday is a weekly column designed to encourage us to step into our weeks with an intention to show up authentically, engage fully, and choose to make it a good week for ourselves. Explore past columns here.


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