You Need People Who Will Tell You the Truth

The people in your life are not inclined to tell you the truth. In fact, they’ve been trained not to. Every time your friends, family, and coworkers told the truth (as they saw it) and the recipient responded defensively, their brains got trained –it’s not safe to tell the truth. So they stopped doing it.

The biggest derailers for leaders are 1) thinking you’re infallible and 2) losing touch with what’s actually happening in your organization; when leaders are arrogant and seen to believe they’re always right, the people around them stop telling them the truth about what’s happening.

The key reason people aren’t straight with you when you’re the boss is fear. Sadly, it’s true: when you’re the leader, you have a lot of power over people’s lives – whether or not you feel comfortable acknowledging that – and they’re going to act to protect themselves in whatever way they feel is necessary.

The only way to get the real story from people is to make it safe for them. (By the way, this is not only true for bosses, but for spouses, friends, and children, as well.) If you want to be successful, you need to surround yourself with people who will tell you the truth. These are the people who like and care about you.

Summing-up: When you get into conversations that make you defensive or irritated, it’s often because somebody is saying something to you that you don’t want to hear, but need to listen to. Very often, the things you don’t want to hear are often the very things you should be thinking about and focusing on.

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