This month I was a guest at Digital X in Cologne (Germany), where 50,000 experts and interested people from across the world met.
Not only was it wonderful to see friends and business partners again, but above all it was also great to have exciting conversations.
For example, I exchanged ideas with Allan Thygesen, CEO of DocuSign, on business value, efficiency, and sustainability and the requirements for organizations in Germany and Europe in the global context.
The speech by Timotheus “Tim” Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG, was also impressive. A key aspect that Tim has repeatedly emphasized is “radical transparency” — i.e. the requirement to clearly and unambiguously identify the issues to master the challenges facing the global economy.
For this approach to work, radical transparency is not only necessary on the employee side but above all a prerequisite on the part of managers to increase their credibility and acceptance by all stakeholders.
“Leading by example,” to put it simply.
Radical transparency requires honesty with ourselves
Honesty with ourselves is a crucial quality of modern leadership because it sets a foundation for transparent and trustworthy relationships with others.
When leaders are honest with themselves, they are able to acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses, which helps them identify areas for improvement and seek out opportunities to grow.
This self-awareness also helps leaders make better decisions, as they can objectively evaluate their options and choose the course of action that aligns with their values and goals.
Furthermore, honesty with ourselves promotes authenticity and vulnerability, which can inspire trust and respect from others.
A leader who is willing to admit their mistakes and take responsibility for their actions is more likely to earn the loyalty of their team and foster a culture of accountability.
This can lead to increased collaboration, innovation, and productivity, as team members feel comfortable expressing their ideas and concerns without fear of retaliation.
How to cultivate honesty with ourselves
Balancing honesty with tact and professionalism is no easy task. Here are some steps you can take to further cultivate honesty with yourself:
1. Practice self-reflection
Take time to reflect on your actions and decisions regularly. Consider how they align with your values and goals, and whether they were effective in achieving the desired outcome. This can help you identify areas for improvement and make adjustments as needed.
2. Seek feedback
Ask for feedback from those you work with and lead. Listen to their perspectives and suggestions, and consider them when making decisions. This can help you gain a better understanding of how others perceive you and identify blind spots in your leadership style.
3. Be open to criticism
Instead of becoming defensive or dismissive of criticism, view it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Be willing to acknowledge when you have made a mistake or when your actions have negatively impacted others, and take steps to make amends and improve in the future.
4. Develop a growth mindset
Embrace the idea that you can always learn and improve, regardless of your current abilities or limitations. Be open to new experiences and challenges, and view setbacks as opportunities for growth and development.
Honesty is a crucial element of effective leadership in modern business.
Being honest with yourself, your team, and external stakeholders can build trust, improve decision-making, and help you stay true to your values and principles.
Balancing honesty with tact and professionalism is key to maintaining strong relationships and achieving success.