Leadership Sincerity: Are You Leading w/ Honesty & Civility?

Leadership Sincerity: Sincerely Yours or Powerfully Yours?

Very few people want passive aggressive leaders. It’s frustrating, confusing, perhaps even maddening. We want them to, say what they mean and mean what they say! Right? Engage in leadership sincerity and authenticity.

Yet how can leaders say what they mean and mean what they say without the risk of being derisive, rude, and disrespectful? Anyone can authentically and selfishly blast out their candor. That’s weak-willed bullying. No one wants that.

The answer is simple. Leadership sincerity! It is honesty delivered with civility. It is courage, humility, and respect in magnetic balance. It draws everyone in. It energizes thought, engagement, and contribution. It is sincerely yours.

Leadership Sincerity: Image is stone w/ words sincerity humility courage.

Leadership Sincerity: Are You Leading w/ Honesty & Civility? Image by mstephens7 via Flickr.

Image by mstephens7 via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Leadership Sincerity: Sincerely Yours Not Powerfully Yours

Leaders, which message do you want your words and actions to communicate: sincerely yours or powerfully yours? What’s the difference? In either case, you can be honest and authentic. Well the effect is quite different. Sincerely yours sustains everyone’s morale and momentum. Powerfully yours, breeds power struggles and saps commitment.

Try sincerely yours to be authentic without being obnoxious…

  • Communicate with honesty and civility.

    Prepare with honesty. Deliver with civility. Honesty is what you say and civility is how you say it. Civility doesn’t weaken the authenticity of the message. It helps everyone to hear it with less resistance. Since they don’t feel insulted or attacked, they listen to your message vs. detouring to escape it.

  • Be confident in your message and humble in delivering it.

    Humility and civility make even tough honesty palatable. Recently, I had to remind a people skills community member not to post messages on the community page selling her company’s products and services. I explained the guideline, the reason, and suggested she do as I do — place product information on her own social media page. Even though I started the community, I hold myself to the same standard.

  • Reach ’em don’t preach ’em.

    Before you speak, ask yourself if you are preaching to them or reaching them. Preaching has the sub-message, “I know more than you.” Reaching out respects others while communicating honestly. If you’re not sure which way you come across, ask for feedback. You can also watch how often you deliver negative messages vs. positive ones. If you communicate the negative far more often, your mindset may be in preach mode. Leadership sincerity is the big picture of truth not just what troubles you.

  • Separate facts from feelings.

    Sometimes leaders justify their candor as sincerity and authenticity. Yet candor has feelings masquerading as facts. As a result, it can insult and disrespect others. Honesty separates facts from feelings. For example, when an employee complains more than once, the response “stop whining” communicates your candid feelings. Yet it is not leadership sincerity. It is patronizing. Worse, it is derisive. Far better to find out what solutions the employee suggests to fix the situation. If those are not feasible, simply state the facts. It’s authentic not offensive.

  • Rise about your personal preferences.

    It lessens the mini-me syndrome and honors diversity. Become very self-aware. Know your personality type, your change orientation, and your learning style. Then ensure you don’t demand that everyone be like you. It prevents your authenticity from becoming domineering self-absorption.

    Consider the situation where someone you promoted to manager is creating terrible unrest. You initially think, change always creates dissatisfaction. Yet more than one employee comes to you with serious examples of this person’s incompetence. Do you authentically show them your anger? Do you tell them, “Enough. I promoted this person and that’s it!” It is powerfully yours.

    Yet, it isn’t great leadership sincerity. Take in the feedback. Ponder it. Move beyond your annoyance over their questioning your judgment. If you communicate from power be ready for a power failure. Seek the whole truth.

  • Be likeable without constantly seeking to be liked.

    Be likeable by delivering every message with civility. Don’t avoid conflict just to be liked. If you seek to be liked at every moment, you may avoid important conversations. It can anger employees who must endlessly tolerate bad situations you won’t address. For example, if there is an employee with a very bad attitude, speak honestly to this person. Leadership sincerity shows courage and respect.

Leadership sincerity is far more than, say what you mean and mean what you say. It is considering both what you say and how you say it. Use honesty with courage, humility, and respect. It far outshines just plain candor.

How has great leadership sincerity helped you?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
What’s So Hot About Humility, Anyway?
Leaders, Avoid These 8 People Skills Mistakes
Leaders, How Long Do You Coach a Bad Attitude?

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.


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6 Responses to “Leadership Sincerity: Are You Leading w/ Honesty & Civility?”

  1. Jon Mertz says:


    Well done! An excellent post on Leadership Sincerity. Leadership Sincerity embraces the good sides of being a human leader, and we need to pin your 8 points up to keep ourselves centered in sincerity. Thanks!


    • Kate Nasser says:

      Thank you Jon. You are a living example of leadership that is both sincere/authentic as well as civil and caring.

      There are many leaders who still believe that blunt candor can be justified as “sincere authenticity” yet honesty works far better than blunt candor for it doesn’t insult or injure morale.

      So pleased to have your perspective. I appreciate you.

  2. Maria Garcia says:

    Kate, what a post! you could have not put it better! As leaders we must have people skills present at all times. I got feedback from my boss the other day, he thinks I need improvements on how to coach. He thinks I coach everyone the same way when I should be coaching everyone in different ways according to what motivates them etc. I guess he is right but this is something I am having a little difficulty on. The reason is that I believe I am very objective or candid on my feedback, because this is how I welcome feedback my self, but no one is the same and for some people this could be a bit too much, You see I appreciate honest feedback, no sugar coated, I want the truth and nothing but the truth, hurt or not hurt. I rather know exactly what I need improvements on so that I can correct the deficiency. I do wrong to assume that other people would like the same and this is where I am having difficulty. I thank you for this post it came timely 🙂 I need to look for ways to improve the way I give feedback and coaching to bring the best in the people I lead. I must say that I do it with compassion, I just need to improve on the how I say it I guess. Life is about learning and making modification as we learn. Thank you for this so timely post, I appreciate the intellectual value you provide. I am making my self available for anything you might need don’t hesitate to call, text or email me:-)

    Maria Garcia

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Dear Maria,
      I am SO honored that you took the time to share both your feedback on the post AND your personal story. We all learn not just from one source but from the everyday examples of how key steps can make a difference.

      Bravo to you and your openness to the feedback your boss gave you. S/he is correct — not everyone appreciates or can learn from “no holds barred” candor. You can definitely adapt your style to each person you coach. I will send you an email w/ some extra tips. I am a resource for growth and honored to be one for you if you would like it.

      Professionally yours,

  3. Dave Moore says:

    Great post Kate…I love ‘Reach’em don’t Preach’em’
    The bullet points speak volumes but the fact that you explain them in depth is a gift
    thank you

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Thanks for the feedback about the “depth” Dave. I try to meet the needs of the drivers who want the high level view and those who want to know the finer points too.

      Always glad to read your insights!

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