There is a fine line. It actually is a fine line for some and not so much for others. Even the most seasoned leaders struggle with knowing when, what and how much to share with those who are in our lives. Some buy into the philosophy that we should "say what we think and feel" at all times. They will often proclaim, "You never have to wonder what I am thinking". The problem with this style of leading is that it often is hurtful and causes defensiveness and resistance from those who are within our circle of influence. The other extreme is to simply say nothing about everything. This causes confusion and often leads to destructive, passive-aggressive behavior.
A wise executive explained how he approached this dilemma of over- versus under-sharing. He said, "My momma told me years ago, 'son when you speak, always tell the truth. But remember, you don't always need to speak'". What a simple but profound thought! Discernment may be the most important quality of a highly effective leader.
When you speak, always tell the truth. But remember, you don't always need to speak.
There are times when having hard conversations is necessary and needed. There are other times when listening without responding is the best course of action. Knowing when to speak and when to listen takes humility, self-control and integrity. Our action of controlling our tongue sends a strong signal of respect to our personal and professional relationships.
The reality is that speaking up or listening at the appropriate time is hard. It requires self-discipline and determination. However, when we choose to heed momma’s advice of cultivating discernment in our leadership, we will make a difference!