4 Steps for Leading With Honesty and Openness


In my 14 years as an entrepreneur, I’ve seen many times that open, honest, vulnerable leaders see better results than those who always want to look like the smartest or most powerful person in the room and communicate from the heart. do not.

As aspiring or new entrepreneurs seek to establish the foundation to grow their business, they should not expect to lead as the only people whom employees rely on for knowledge, direction, and decision-making. Instead, they should be open to distributing accountability and authority to other smart, hardworking leaders, managers, and individual contributors. Certainly, there is value in entrepreneurship in being a rigid individualist – I’ve seen these types of people care deeply about their organizations, employees, and customers. As the business grows and the leadership responsibilities become bigger, however, I have also seen many struggle to ask for help.

That’s why people who can’t make the transition from the “genius and a thousand followers” attitude fail more often than those who can count on other great people. And the surest way to build that trust is to be an open, honest and vulnerable leader.

transparent led price

Leaders who recognize the value in seeking help, involving others, embracing criticism, and understanding that mistakes are inevitable even for themselves, allow members to speak more freely and allow teams to work collaboratively. And allow the ideas to be challenged. We all have to work hard to be open, honest and vulnerable in our communication.

While I’ve had the privilege of working with a select few entrepreneurial leaders who have shown intrinsic capabilities for vulnerability-based trust and transparent communication, for most it comes after a lot of learning and hard work. Remember that it is all about faith and courage to let your guard down and be genuine, raw and human with your employees. The following steps can help leaders lead with openness, honesty, and vulnerability and encourage a similar approach across all of their organizations:

1. Stop calling interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence “soft.”

The first step in adopting a more transparent, raw and genuine leadership style is to truly believe that leading this way matters. It sounds obvious, but I’ve seen many leaders dismiss vulnerability, genuine caring, effective communication, and transparency as “full” or “soft skills.”

But saying something is a “soft skill” can make others think it is unimportant, or not as important as other “hard” skills. You want to make activities and behaviors that improve trust, communication skills, and team health a top priority, and you want everyone on your team to take those activities seriously.

When you invest time, energy, and money into developing your own interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence, you will be signaling to others that this is a valuable and important endeavor. As you build yourself, others will join you, and you’ll attract the right people to help your business grow.

“Start with the good people, create the rules, communicate with your employees, motivate and reward them. If you do all of those things effectively, you can’t miss.” – Lee Iacococ

2. Read with your team and work together to meet the standards of those books.

If you want to learn more effective leadership skills, you have plenty of resources that can help. Start with some excellent books on the subject. My recommendations include Patrick Lencioni’s “Five Defects of a Team”, Brene Brown’s “Dare to Lead”, Gino Wickman and René Boer’s “How to Be a Great Boss”, Dr. Henri Claude’s “Honesty: The Demands of Reality”. Courage to fulfill”. ,” Kim Scott’s “Radical Candor,” and Michael Singer’s “The Untethered Soul.”

Reading these books on your own can be beneficial, but really only for you. However, if you read them with your colleagues, you can make more immediate and lasting improvements. Evaluate yourself against the standards set by these books, and commit to correcting the deficiencies you recognize.

3. Be teachable and reach out to help.

Entrepreneurs already know the value of being good and eager learners. However, consider that being a United NationsThe learner is equally important. And it can be more difficult to master. After forming strong habits over time, it can be hard to change them or adopt new ways of thinking on your own. That’s why it’s important for entrepreneurs to focus on keeping their mind open and not set in a single path or ways of doing things.

Be flexible and teachable. I’ve found that reaching out to others is the best way to break out of the rut if you feel like you’re stuck in one-sided thinking. Other entrepreneurs and leaders you look up to, leadership coaches, therapists, spiritual leaders – especially where and from whom you get what you need will vary, but the point is, reaching out for help is never a bad thing. is.

4. Practice courage in difficult conversations.

Part of being a great leader is being honest with the bad and the ugly – not just the good. Letting someone go because they’re not the right fit, letting employees know they’re performing poorly, or any other difficult conversation takes a lot of courage to be delivered openly and transparently.

But great leaders serve others above themselves, and it’s important to remember that sharing negative feedback is the only way to help people make progress. Just remember that any feedback worth sharing will be contained in the data, and the data should be the driver of the conversation. The data cuts through arrogance, bias and opinion to help you make the smartest decisions. Judging only on feelings will reduce your credibility and mistrust will pollute the atmosphere. On the other hand, transparent dialogue based on facts will promote an open and honest culture.

With the right tools and the right mindset at heart, I believe that entrepreneurs and growth-stage leaders will find great success honestly, openly and with a renewed belief in their teams and themselves.