The Need for Tell Courage in Management 

As a manager, having difficult conversations is an unavoidable part of the job. Whether it’s addressing poor performance with an employee, giving critical feedback, or making tough decisions that impact people’s roles, managers frequently have to step into uncomfortable dialogues. And yet, many managers shy away from having these critical talks due to lack of what leadership experts call “tell courage.”

Tell courage is defined as the willingness to candidly express viewpoints or facts that may be under appreciated or disputed. It requires speaking up respectfully on issues when staying silent would be easier. For managers, developing tell courage is key to being effective leaders. Without it, problems fester, tough love goes undelivered, and conflict gets swept under the rug. 

There are a few reasons why building tell courage should be a priority for anyone in a position of leadership:

1. It builds trust. When managers avoid difficult conversations, employees notice. By speaking directly and transparently on hard issues, managers demonstrate commitment, integrity, and respect. This increases employees’ trust and engagement over the long-term.

2. It surfaces problems early. Managers with tell courage tackle issues head-on instead of letting them escalate silently. This prevents little problems from ballooning into crises and helps identify solutions at an earlier, more manageable stage.  

3. It models open communication. By leaning into challenging talks, managers set an example of forthright dialogue for the whole team. This catalyses a culture of candor, psychological safety, and transparency across the organisation.

Developing tell courage requires pushing past discomfort, fear of conflict, and the urge to people-please. But these efforts lead to growth for both managers and their teams. With a commitment to candid, compassionate truth-telling and dedicated practice addressing delicate topics, leaders can expand their tell courage muscle to everyone’s benefit. The capacity for tough talks marks the difference between mediocre managers and great ones.