Posted on March 1, 2016

Are you better at care or candor?

Usually, we have a bent towards one more than the other. However, both are important if we want people to follow us. The are more important still if we want people to want to follow us.

Leaders who are naturally good at building loyalty with their team know you can care for people without leading them but you cannot lead them effectively without caring for them. When followers feel loyalty toward their leader they will be more motivated to go the extra mile.

Leaders who are naturally good at directing their team with candor understand that neither the individual or the organization will reach its potential without honest feedback. People will hit a target they do not know exists.

The most effective leaders balance care and candor for the benefit of all involved.

When we don’t care for people we are actually viewing them as objects that help us get results rather than people who we are partnered with on a common mission.

When we withhold developmental feedback we are actually prioritizing our own need to please and be liked at the expense of that person and the organization.

How can you become better today at caring for people?

Take a little extra time to listen. Instead of injecting your opinion as soon as someone finishes talking ask a sincere follow up question that will help you better understand their perspective.

How can you improve your candor today?

Don’t let your observations build into frustrations. Have honest conversations sooner rather than later. As the old saying goes, if you know you have to swallow a frog get it over with as soon as possible!

If you feel like beginning either of these behaviors would be seen as strange to the people you lead simply own the fact that you aren’t good at care/candor and that you are trying to improve. They will appreciate your transparency and intentionality.

-Bob Willumsen


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