The Costs and Benefits of Speaking Up and Speaking the Truth

In the 1996 Movie, Jerry Maguire, the titular slick sports agent played by Tom Cruise has a crisis of conscience, he pens a heartfelt company-wide memo that promptly gets him fired. 

Jerry Maguire provides an example that speaking up at work can be a career-limiting move, and taking an unpopular public stance can result in being attacked or canceled,  but if we don't speak the consequences can be just as devastating.

When we keep quiet or don't speak the truth, we are out of integrity. Integrity goes beyond mere honesty. It encompasses the consistency between one's thoughts, words, and actions. Individuals with integrity not only speak the truth but also live their lives in alignment with it. 

When you practice self-leadership and live with integrity people know that you are trustworthy and accountable. You will have gravitas which is the cornerstone of Executive Presence, which in turn provides you with Influence Capital.

“Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.”
― Barbara De Angelis

Fear of speaking up and its consequences is understandable but can be overcome by naming the fear and evaluating that fear against the cost to your integrity. You can further reduce the fear by learning to frame your message in ways that are less likely to get pushback.

Speaking Up and Speaking the Truth

In an era where misinformation runs rampant and falsehoods thrive, speaking up, and speaking the truth have become more crucial than ever. The very fabric of society and the future of humanity relies heavily relies on honesty, integrity, and authenticity, yet many people find it difficult to speak up.

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.” - William Faulkner

Speaking up and speaking the truth requires honesty and authenticity. Honesty is a virtue that lies at the heart of speaking the truth. It involves being sincere, transparent, and free from deceit or pretense. Honesty is not only an ethical principle but also a powerful catalyst for personal and professional growth.

Authenticity involves being genuine and true to oneself. It means embracing one's unique identity, values, and beliefs. In a world often dominated by superficiality and pretense, authenticity stands as a potent force for truth. When individuals are authentic, they express their thoughts and emotions sincerely, without fear of judgment or rejection.

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” - Brene Brown

Authenticity allows for meaningful connections with others based on mutual understanding and respect. In a post-truth era, authenticity is crucial in combating misinformation and allowing genuine perspectives to be heard.

Framing Your Message

Practicing self-leadership and being authentic will increase the chances of your message being heard and minimize the consequences of telling the truth. You can further improve your influence by learning to frame your message. By considering the current wants, needs, and beliefs of your intended audience, you can deliver your message in ways that are more likely to be accepted.

People are emotional first, logical second and so appealing to their emotions is critical. Avoid, at all costs, leading by making the listener wrong or challenging their status. Instead, you might lead with something like, "I appreciate your position, and you clearly know a lot about this subject, so if I was to share some new facts and perspectives I'm sure you would evaluate them on merit."

Diplomacy, rather than directness can be the shortest distance to your goal.

In Conclusion

As an authority on self-leadership and a Global Keynote Speaker, it is my job, to tell the truth as I see it. As a coach to Executive Leadership Teams, I am aware of the politics that must be negotiated in telling the truth. I tell them that a person of integrity will let time prove them right, and remind them that:

"Truth without compassion is cruelty" - Antero Alli





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