15 March 2016
Flex Some Candor To Boost Your Personal Brand
“I’m going to speak candidly.” That’s a signal to expect a transparent and impartial message—without judgmental undercurrents. Candor, delivered with care, is a skill leaders can use to add value and gain respect.
Some leaders have a tendency to shy away from candor. They don’t want to offend or disengage. At the other end of the spectrum are leaders who are candid and communicate their message, no matter what the outcome. They hold this skill as a badge of honour and feel it is an efficient way of getting the job done.
Awareness is key – of yourself and your audience.
This is where being crystal clear about your personal brand can come in handy. It takes the guessing out of ‘the how’ and provides a guideline to remain aligned with the experience you want to create for others.
Lots of leaders have had tough experiences delivering or receiving difficult messages. They tell me it feels uncomfortable.
I get it! BUT to overcome what didn’t go well in your past it is essential to create a new normal: no longer investing your energy into your past but redirecting to what you want to create. Your past doesn’t have to dictate your future.
Like most things — a new sport, a new language, or any new skill — discomfort simply indicates you haven’t performed the task enough to build the muscle memory necessary to make it easy. Running your first meeting with a new team, speaking in front of your colleagues, delivering a presentation on the big stage, or making an ask for what you need – there is a learning curve.
Consistency is key. Practice what will support your growth.
The ‘not knowing how it will go’ is the initial discomfort most expressed by leaders I work with. Though when they follow through with the task the response is typically, “It wasn’t as bad as I thought.”
Don’t let uncertainty of what came before hold you back from moving forward. Test, debrief, reset!
Change The HOW
In research conducted by Dr. Albert Mehrabian, thirty eight percent of your message is in the ‘how’ you say it. It’s not just your choice of words but the way you communicate them that ignites a certain response. How you deliver your message has five times the impact than the words you use. Obviously, paying attention to the words you chose is important, but what carries even more weight and cannot be ignored is your delivery.
A candid style becomes part of the message itself.
It is not the candor of the conversation that typically puts people off anyway. When your delivery is forced, riddled with frustration, or condescending, your audience will sense it regardless of your choice of words.
When there is a lack of honesty or impartiality it seeps into your words and body language.
The most important piece of using candor effectively is to not be emotionally charged when delivering what you need to say, be it to one or many. It lands better when there is an added element of caring.
Here’s what you can do to avoid a disconnect with the power of candor:
- Do an emotional check-in with yourself. Be thoughtful and honest with yourself about where you are emotionally. Now let go of what doesn’t support you and shift it to where you want to be. Yes, it is that easy!
- Be intentional about the outcome you want from the exchange. Know what you want to achieve, how you want to show up and maintain that focus.
- Be mindful of what is most important; the person versus the issue.
- Treat others with respect. Ditch the golden rule of treating others the way you want to be treated and use the platinum rule of treating others the way they want to be treated.
Using candor shows how much you care and will elevate your status as a trusted leader.
If you express yourself with candor do a check-in and make sure everyone appreciates your directness and not just those that are like you.
If you find you are one to hold back from being more direct, ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?” Plan, prepare and practice what you will say and test if what you thought was true.
Want to get a handle on how you do? Ask for feedback from those whose opinion you value AND check-in with yourself, that too will provide guidance.
Being honest, direct and transparent is a powerful leadership skill. Dare to exercise your candor muscle and fearlessly say what you know needs to be voiced. You may even find people thanking you for it!
Align yourself with what matters most to you. Live your brand fully expressed with intention and purpose to play bigger!