"The biggest concern for any organization should be when their most passionate people become quiet." Daniel Maxwell
I read this quote recently and it really resonated with me. I have always believed that leaders benefit greatly by having truth tellers in their organization. I relied on others to tell me what they really thought about an idea or what was truly going on in our operations. It wasn't always pleasant to hear, but not knowing about a problem made it impossible to solve.
It is a special skill not only to be able to hear the truth, but to be able to share it in a way that is heard. Truth tellers are not always popular in organizations, or even with their direct supervisors. It is far easier to keep quiet and not risk admonition, but the organization suffers as a result.
This reminds me of another quote: "Leaders who don't listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say." Andy Stanley
Whether you deploy an external consultant to communicate the truth or summon the bravery to do it yourself, truth telling is an invaluable organizational skill. And, in my opinion, truth listening is an essential leadership talent.
Be intentional in creating a culture that allows honest feedback to be spoken -- and heard. Ask the tough questions. Embrace less-than-flattering answers. Cherish those who speak the truth to you. Probe about candor in your interviewing. While it may not always feel like it, the truth is your best friend.
-- beth triplett