Susan regularly lied to avoid conflict or disagreement. ‘Not really lies at all. Small lies to avoid disappointing people’. She would say it wasn’t her decision when she was given feedback on an unpopular decision; she would say she had read the documents when she hadn’t; and she would say she was busy when she didn’t want to go to an afterwork drinks party.
When we asked for feedback on her as a leader, people said they didn’t really trust her. No, she hadn’t told huge lies, and she hadn’t defrauded anyone, but every day she had whittled people’s trust away. She had neither the courage nor the skill to speak her truth, and if she wanted to be a leader that people would choose to follow, she’d have to find both.