As leaders, it can be difficult to find people who will give it to us straight. People who will help us address our “blind spots.”
Like most cars, most leaders have blind spots – areas where we have trouble seeing clearly. Either we are too busy to identify our blind spots or pride stands in the way of us recognizing them.
That’s why all great leaders need a truth-teller.
A truth-teller is a person who will communicate the last 10%. A person who will tell us the truth even when we don’t want to hear it.
Do you have a truth-teller you can turn to for feedback? If not, it’s important to know what to look for when selecting one.
Here are five traits of a reliable truth-teller:
First and foremost, you have to trust your truth-teller. You want a person who does not have a history of gossip. Someone with great integrity. Someone you respect. A person you know you can rely on no matter what happens.
This person must care about you as an individual. They must have deep interest in your success and future. They must always have your best interests in mind. This person should be more than just an associate; he/she should be a friend.
It’s right there in the name: truth-teller. This person must be honest with you in every situation (whether you want to hear what they’re saying or not). They need to be inherently bold. Not rude. But willing to open yours eye and push you in the right direction.
Avoid the negative people who always see the glass as half empty. You need a person who is encouraging and uplifting. Someone who will help you see potential and opportunity. You should walk away from each conversation feeling challenged and excited.
Your truth-teller must be “all in.” They have to be 100% committed. They should never miss a scheduled meeting. They should initiate meetings. And they should stay connected to you on a frequent basis (whether through meetings, phone, calls, e-mails, etc.).
But it’s not only on them. In order for your truth-teller to be effective, you need to nurture the relationship.