Erik Barnlund

Brutal and Honest Truths About Being a Powerful Leader

How to be honest about yourself in business part 2

In the previous post in this series, Erik described a jaw-dropping experience that happened at the recent IT Nation conference. Keynote speaker, Marcus Lemonis, star of the CNBC reality show, The Profit laid his life and soul bare in front of thousands of leaders in the IT services industry. To read about how and why he did it, click here.

Marcus Lemonis part 2

“Now, it’s your turn. “

Keynote speaker, Marcus Lemonis pointed to microphones set up and scattered throughout the audience. We knew at that moment, we were in for something we never experienced before.

He asked the keynote IT Nation participants to prepare and then share with the audience something that nobody knew about them. A stillness passed over the assembled group.

And then, for the next 45 minutes, one person after another started lining up to share their deepest darkest secrets. And all of this in front of thousands of their esteemed fellow colleagues.

Tearfully opening up

There must have been 25-30 people tearfully opening up in ways that were not only moving, but that also made everyone else feel connected to them.

It was therapeutic. Emotional. Gripping. It was, in fact, the most impressive amount of unfiltered reality that I’ve ever witnessed.

Marcus’ goal was to get people in the audience to show a side of themselves to people that they’ve never seen and to demonstrate how therapeutic those kind of revelations can be.

It also starkly drove home the point that personal honesty can set a powerful example to the people that you lead.

The challenge of personal honesty

Marcus challenged us to practice more of this kind of openness when we got back to our businesses. He challenged us to open up with the teams we lead and to be real with them.

If we could, he asked us to create a connection with our team members that we might lack at this point. He urged us to build a foundation for greater accountability and growth to take place.

The impact of such an appeal was unbelievably moving.

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