My teams and I have been reading a book called Love Works: Seven Timeless Principles For Effective Leaders by Joel Manby. Chapter 7 of the book talks about being truthful, hence my truthful opening statement. In that chapter the author gives us four rules to ensure that our interactions with each other are constructive and truthful. The 4 rules are as follows:
Rule #1: Don’t shoot the messenger
The author says it better than me: “Let’s deal with the information, not the person expressing the opinion.” Remember that perceptions and assumptions are not the truth. It’s your view of the world based on some of the facts. Always stick to the facts – let the information guide our discussions.
Rule #2: Don’t confuse disagreement with conflict
The author suggests that “conflict develops when people take the disagreement personally”. We are allowed to disagree and challenge each other, but when in doubt read Rule #1 again.
Rule #3: Don’t assume people see it
This is a tricky one. Always play back, or ask other people to play back, what has been discussed to ensure that everybody is on the same page. Tip: check for non-verbal cues – body language is a good guide to establish if somebody got it.
Rule #4: Speak now or forever hold your peace
Never leave the room without voicing your opinion. Everybody’s opinion should be heard. Check to make sure everybody had a chance to have a say. If they haven’t, ask them for their opinion.
Alan Mullaly, previous CEO of Ford, told his senior managers that “you can’t manage a secret.”
What impact will it have on you and your teams if all interactions followed these four rules?