True Leaders Speak True

You are Always Conveying a Message

As the project manager/leader we are always conveying a message. Whether we like it or not, we are engaged in an ongoing conversation with our team and broader stakeholders – always. We are the primary message-bearers for the project and its interests. Whether in formal meetings, informal conversations, or wherever we are – we are always conveying a message. Our message must remain consistent and must be comprised of three essential elements.

–   We must be authentic and speak true things
–   We must keep people focused on the mission
–   We must truly care about our people

As project manager/leaders we are called to nurture an environment of openness. When the project encounters difficulties and challenges, the project manager/leader and the team are openly discussing the real situations. Issues are addressed head-on and are fact-based. This means that discussions are candid and agendas are open. There is a willingness to talk about things that are not working. Authenticity is valued among all team members. Everyone has a voice.

This is how successful project manager/leaders conduct themselves among their people. This is their voice and their their message. They are frequently and consistently framing the conversation around the project’s mission and objectives. But this is not all. They are doing this in a manner that is winsome and encouraging. This is true particularly when the project is facing challenges and things are not going as planned. The project manager/leader’s voice must remain enthusiastic and hopeful, building excitement for the mission, casting a renewed vision, and painting a winning picture of tomorrow.

It is important to stress here that as project manager/leaders, we must never speak falsely. When I say that the leader conveys hopefulness in the face of hard times, this does not mean that they ever misrepresent the true situation. Rather, they look hard at the facts and strive to envision a workable outcome. True leaders always speak true. They engage the team to purposefully work through the challenge rather than ignore or evade it. I would emphasize that some of a project’s greatest victories and breakthroughs come at just these moments of crisis. The team comes together and startling outcomes occur. Why are we always surprised by this. It is beautiful.

Last, and most important, this means that as leader’s we truly care about our people. Not just in regard to the project and its interests but we care about them as real individuals with hopes and dreams and struggles. When we truly care for and about our people, they know it. And something remarkable happens. An atmosphere of deep and abiding commitment grows among everyone on the team. And this is the place where truly amazing things get done. There is a deep joy in leading well.

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