Candour and feedback: Communicating with integrity

We love The Conscious Leadership Group’s work on candour. They describe candour as revealing relevant facts, judgements, opinions and feelings about an issue with the people involved, from above the line. The concept of above and below the line refers to mindset and behaviours that are either open, curious and committed to learning (above) or closed, defensive and committed to being right (below).

Demonstrating candour from above the line is essential for holding others accountable and becoming comfortable with difficult conversations. The opposite of candour is concealing or withholding, often leading to gossip and passive aggression. Most of the time, we withhold because we’re afraid of:

  • What others will think
  • Losing control or power
  • Looking odd, especially if there’s a culture of concealing
  • Being judged and criticised for our thoughts and feelings
  • Hurting other people’s feelings
  • Fuelling conflict and drama

Self-leadership is about facing these fears and choosing to reveal them. People who are practising self-leadership know that concealing creates disconnection in our relationships and diminishes our integrity. When we’re out of integrity, we feel internally conflicted and that impacts our energy, passion, drive and creativity.

It also costs our teams as conversations within conversations sit beneath the surface. You know how that goes…it’s that massive elephant in the room. Almost everyone knows what people are actually referring to, but there isn’t the psychological safety or the language to reveal.

It also costs organisations because all the relevant facts, stories and perspectives aren’t shared, making it hard to make the best decision that everyone can support. And people aren’t held accountable, which means performance is compromised and/or others pick up the slack.

For the visual thinkers amongst us, here’s another great video from the Conscious Leadership Group.

Download our Candour and Feedback Workbook to explore your level of comfort with, or resistance to, candour and feedback and work through current challenges in your life and work.



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