Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

Ephesians 4:15

“Your” truth is your perception. It’s how you see a situation.

It’s hard to communicate your truth when you fear others won’t receive it well. When you don’t know if you’ll lose a relationship or if people will lose trust in you as a leader.

Sometimes, you may be so stressed about the outcome of telling your truth that you keep quiet. You tell yourself you’ll share what’s on your mind at “the right time.” Until then, you sit on your thoughts and stuff your true feelings.

There is a time and a place to leave things unsaid, as a leader. And, there are moments when you must speak your truth, no matter how hard it may be for others to hear.

When the time comes to break your silence, you can take the teeth out of your fear. The servant leadership secret to doing that is to share your message with respect and love.

Here’s how:

  • Document the impact of not speaking your truth.

What is being lost through your silence?

Make a list of the opportunities for positive change that aren’t emerging because you aren’t speaking your truth. Be expansive. Consider the ripple effects that can be triggered through your honesty.

Take your time with this step. Spend a few days envisioning everything good that can happen for others when you summon the courage to share what’s on your mind. Not only will this effort fuel your courage, it will also deepen your respect for others’ ability to adapt, grow, and learn.

  • Equip yourself to say what you mean.

You want the best for everyone around you. Through sharing your truth, your hope is that you will help others become wiser, stronger, and more able to fulfill their God-given purpose in life.

Get the support you need so that you can be confident that others will feel your love and respect for them as you share your truth. Jesus was the unequivocal master of delivering challenging news at ‘this’ level. Ask Him for guidance. Invest that time.

You may find through prayer that you feel drawn toward other sources that can help you learn to speak your mind graciously and therefore effectively.

  • Ask for permission to speak your truth.

Manage expectations around the conversation you are about to have. Ask for permission to speak your truth. Give others the heads up that it may not be easy for them to hear you out. Extend love and respect through not blindsiding people.

  • Extend forgiveness.

However people respond to hearing your message, offer immediate forgiveness; not out loud, but in your heart.

Hearing tough news isn’t easy for anyone. Emotions get stirred up and people respond in ways that they later regret. Hold this front and center in your mind.

  • Seek understanding.

Remember, “your” truth is not “the” truth.

The way you see things might be wrong. Or, if not wrong, maybe not completely right.

After sharing your thoughts, ask for feedback. Is there information that you don’t have? What’s the other side of the story? There are always two (and often more than two) sides.

Spend time getting the complete picture.

  • If appropriate, ask for forgiveness.

If your perception was inaccurate and you need to apologize, do so immediately. Don’t wait.

  • Wipe the slate clean.

Once you have this conversation, leave it where it belongs – in the past. Carry the lessons from it with you, but don’t reference it again. Nothing drains the health of relationships more than asking others (or yourself) to dredge up tension from the past and relive it.

Extend trust that others will carry the lessons with them, as well. Respect that they have your best interests at heart, just as you have theirs.

  • Love

Loving others is easy when your ideas and perceptions are aligned. It’s less easy when you discover misalignments and have to work them through.

Embrace the less easy path. Choose to love, even when it’s hard. Bear with people, always believing in their potential to evolve — emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.

I promise you, your belief will inspire their evolution…and your own.


Be completely humble and gentle, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)