Do you know how to speak to your own truth effectively? Do you know how to hear the truth well, when it’s spoken to you?
In the world of work, conspiracies of silence are enormously damaging and all but universal. We have all worked in places where no one addressed the problem that everyone knew about: the ofﬁce bully no one confronts; the budget games, where people skew numbers and exaggerate expectations; the board of directors that tacitly suppresses dissent to support a charismatic CEO; the arrogant doctor who makes mistakes nurses see but are afraid to point out.
Creating a culture of candour requires balancing the organisational desire for employee loyalty with a personal dedication to integrity, more specifically, truth-telling. A good leader encourages a new mind-set of questioning. They invite employees at all levels to challenge assumptions based on past experiences and scrutinize “the way we’ve always done things.
Corporate culture would do well to look for more feminine versions of leadership. While not typical traits for our leaders, “feminine” virtues of humility, inclusion, vulnerability, service to others, and respect for people, are characteristic of truly great leaders. Speaking truth to power might be a more natural role for women than for men to play because the former “have been outside the status quo ante, and are free to marshal historic exclusions for positive ends…women have not learned, and therefore do not have to unlearn, principles no longer pertinent…women might be the utterers of today’s imperative blasphemies.