Byron's Babbles

Truth: The Key To A Candid Workplace Culture

Posted in Coaching, Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Spiritual by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on October 31, 2015

“The longer I live and participate in the business world, the more I realize telling the truth is almost always the correct choice, painful or not. There are ways to communicate with tact; a harsh reality can be delivered in a constructive way.” ~ John M. Manning

truthAs I read this week’s entry in The Disciplined Leader (Manning, 2015) I was reminded of the dramatic scene in the great movie A Few Good Men. In the movie’s final court scene where the military lawyer, Kaffee, played by Tom Cruise is trying to draw the arrogant colonel, Jessup, played by Jack Nicholson into admitting that he ordered a Code Red (a sort of vigilante justice within a unit) that was officially not allowed by the military; Kaffee yells at him: “I want the truth!”, and then Jessup yells back “You can’t handle the truth!”, and then proceeds to make the admission and tell the truth, finally. This telling of the truth ultimately builds trust on the team. According to Gary Peterson of Forbes Magazine (Peterson, 2013) there are four key attributes to strong followership. Followership is defined, according to the University of Oregon, as the willingness to cooperate in working towards the accomplishment of the group mission, to demonstrate a high degree of teamwork, and to build cohesion among the group. (University of Oregon, 2013). Here are the four key attributes:You-cant-handle-the-truth6

  1. Trust: Through everyday behavior, “followership” requires that the leader provides evidence that they can be trusted.
  2. Stability: Leaders with strong “followership” remain calm in the face of panic and give a sense of confidence to those around them.
  3. Compassion: Strong “followership” leaders have unrelenting passion for people and show empathy when those folks are enduring hard times.
  4. Hope: “Followership” requires that the leader has unwavering belief that their product/service will not only succeed, but will change lives.disciplined-leader

Manning (2015) points out that the truth also sets the stage for a candid workplace culture. This allows it to be a productive and safe place for team members to be engaged and part of a learning organization culture. The truth never hurts us, it is what we do with the truth. I really like the way Manning (2015) describes the truth as giving us the ability to act fast. He posits that truthfulness is a change agent (Manning, 2015). This truthfulness will act as a catalyst for making decisions that mirror our core values, wisdom, self-discipline, and integrity. We must remember to make the truth a part of our core values.


“Followership.” Followership. The University of Oregon, 01 Jan. 2013. Web. 15 June 2013.

Manning, J. (2015). The disciplined leader: 52 concise, powerful lessons. Oakland, CA: Barrett – Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Peterson, Gary. “Leadership 310: The Four Principles of ‘Followership'” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 23 Apr. 2013. Web. 14 June 2013.


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