Iâ€™m continuing my break from blogging and social media, so I thought Iâ€™d share some excellent content from my friend, Tom Harper each day this week. Hasn’t this week been a blessing of wisdom from a man of God? Todayâ€™s blog post is so insightful and helpful to me personally, that it will now change the way I interact with my staff – both me to them and them to me.
Tom Harper is president of Networld Media Group, a publisher of online trade journals and events for the banking, retail, restaurant and church leadership markets (including the mega-blogÂ www.ChurchCentral.com). He is the author ofÂ Leading from the Lionsâ€™ Den: Leadership Principles from Every Book of the BibleÂ (B&H).
Last week I was honored to speak at theÂ TurnAround20/20 ConferenceÂ in Nashville, TN, where I got to meet Tom in person. He graciously offered to provide blog posts for me so I could finish my rest from technology. So enjoy! Hereâ€™s Tomâ€™s last blog post for this week:
â€œLet me be honest with you.â€
â€œHonestly, hereâ€™s why it wonâ€™t work.â€
Enough with the â€œhonestyâ€ thing! When someone tells me theyâ€™re being honest, I have my cue to dig deeper for real truth.
Sometimes the word is synonymous with â€œreally,â€ or simply an emphatic yet meaningless adjective, like saying â€œLook, hereâ€™s what Iâ€™m saying.â€ Some would call it a â€œwaste word.â€
However, if the context is a difficult conversation with a colleague, itâ€™s a flag.
Honesty and truth donâ€™t always go hand in hand.
The flag raises when the meaning of â€œhonestlyâ€ changes to â€œplease believe me.â€ It becomes a plea to shift your bias in their favor.
The problem is truth often flees when the â€œhâ€ word enters the picture.
Itâ€™s not so much that they lie. Itâ€™s that they leave out significant details, either because theyâ€™re afraid to deliver unpleasant news or because the truth might make them look bad. Persuasion is their goal.
If you want to know the rest of the story, look for subtle clues to what the person is really thinking, like:
- body language
- facial expressions
- phrases they donâ€™t normally use
Once you have the truthâ€¦.
Now shift the focus to the future.
A good question to conclude with is:Â â€œWhat would you like me to do?â€ This cuts through any remaining fog and extracts progress from the drama.
A leaderâ€™s action steps for truth gathering:
- Walk through employee and customer areas several times a day, especially at the beginning of the day.
- Regularly experience your operation from the customersâ€™ and employeesâ€™ points of view.
- Make yourself accessible by giving out your cell number and by getting out and about.
- Dig deeper, and deeper still, until you learn the whole truth.