Over the years I’ve found John Maxwell to be an incredible inspiration to me. His words of encouragement to me as a leader have a lasting impact. I don’t usually repost, but I feel like this message needs to be shared anywhere possible. Here is an excerpt. You can read more at his blog.
Every person makes mistakes at some time in the workplace. Everyone needs someone to come alongside them to help them improve. If you’re a leader, it is your responsibility and your privilege to be the person who helps them get better. That often begins with a candid conversation. But before you have it, it helps to ask yourself what the nature of the problem might be.
My friend Sam Chand says that when he is having difficulty with a person he asks himself one simple question, “Is this person a can’t or a won’t? Can’t is about abilities. We can help these kinds of people in most cases—not in all cases, but in most. But won’t is about attitude. If the issue is attitude, the time to let that person know there is a problem is now, because here is the deal: we hire people for what they know and fire them for who they are.”
I believe that people can improve their attitudes and their abilities. And because I do, I talk to them about where they’re coming up short. If you’re a leader and you want to help people, you need to be willing to have those tough conversations. So how does a leader handle being relational while still trying to move people forward? By balancing care and candor.
Care without candor creates dysfunctional relationships.
Candor without care creates distant relationships.
But care balanced with candor creates developing relationships.
Here is how care and candor work together in leadership:
Caring Values The Person While Candor Values The Person’s Potential
To lead successfully, it is important for you to value people. That is foundational to solid relationships. Caring for others demonstrates that you value them. However, if you want to help them get better, you have to be honest about where they need to improve. That shows that you value the person’s potential, and requires candor.