4 Steps to Become a More Genuine Leader

Date posted: September 27, 2016


Open Up Communication to Be a Great Leader

By Andy Bailey

Communication is a skill – one that needs to be practiced to be perfected in a leader. And, the root of all effective communication is honesty. CEOs and business owners often think that means being totally unfiltered with employees, and unfortunately, some choose to embrace “brutal honesty” – however insensitive or accusatory–as a tactic of communication. It’s no surprise that this method usually backfires and, over a sustained period of time, can lead to disheartened employees, high turnover and a lack of trust in management. But it doesn’t have to be that way. When honest communication is positive and constructive, it helps leaders build and maintain strong, loyal teams.

Here are four steps to open up lines of communication and become the “honesty standard leader” for your team:

Show the “real you”

Do people see who you really are, or are you playing a role? The fact is people can see through your “act” more easily than you think. And those around you deserve to know the real you–not just the image you want to present as “the boss.” Admit that you’re human and share vulnerabilities with your team. Be honest about who you are and what’s going on in your life (the good and the bad), and your team will actually trust you more. They’ll begin to share their own stories and become more cohesive.

Take time to listen

You’re a leader. You’ve made it your business to do things the way you envision them in order to start your own company and make your dreams a reality. However, that doesn’t mean you should block out advice from others – especially when it’s coming from your employees. Open yourself up to honest criticism and invite feedback about areas you may be overlooking. By trusting your employees with that kind of critique and seeking solutions that will benefit everyone, you’ll begin to encourage higher levels of truth in the workplace and gather the best ideas.

Surround yourself with honest people

Are you surrounded with lots of “yes” men and women? If people are just telling you what they think you want to hear, there is no benefit–least of all to your business. Ask for regular “truth checks” with your team. Are they providing ideas freely–especially those which might differ from yours–or do they hesitate to voice their opinions? Surround yourself with people bold and truthful enough to disagree with you. Without dissenting opinions, you’ll never exit your comfort zone, which will limit your personal and professional growth.

Accept your imperfections

You may be the one in charge, but you will never have all the answers. No one person can handle everything, and that includes you. Gather a team of truthful people who balance out your weaknesses with their strengths. Empower them to do what they do best, and play to everyone’s strengths–including your own.

Don’t hesitate to be vulnerable and open up in a genuine way with your employees. Vulnerability breeds trust. Once you have trust, your team will feel comfortable sharing good news, bad news and everything in between. And, that’s what you want. Genuine leaders don’t need to be “brutal” –just honest. Try it. Your employees–and you–will notice the difference.

Andy Bailey is lead entrepreneur coach with business coaching firm Petra and serves in an advisory role on the Gazelles Council, the leaders of the Scale Up movement. Visit his blog at www.petracoach.com for more business and leadership insight.

Related Stories »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

Why Businesses Fail »

18 Reasons Why Businesses Fail
Read More…

Listen to Rieva Now! »

Small Business Ideas

Get Small Business Ideas From Rieva

turning passion into profit »

turning passion into profit

Download your free ebook here!

Trends: small business ideas »

Get Updates »

Enter your email to subscribe to our RSS.

Free Download »

Free Download

Startup ideas for businesses to start now! Download here

Congrats Rieva Lesonsky! Named to Top 250 Business Journalists

Small Biz Money Tip »

Small Biz Money Tip

Pricing: Have more than one price for your product or service. Make one price seem more attractive than the other. People love a good deal, especially when they can relate one price to the other.
More Money Tips From Justin Krane


Loan Center »

New Loan Center

Find a Small Business Loan