Hesitate if necessary – but always say what you mean.
What you should “mean” is whatever is going to produce the consequences that you need or desire.
It is an art you have to learn. It is not a matter of telling people what’s on your mind. That is no business of theirs.
Nor is it a matter of being forthright. There are times when you want to be forthright. But there are times when it would be disadvantageous to be overly forthright.
How you perform in action or in communication should not be who you are at the moment. Who you are needs to be composed and enacted according to who you would have to become to lead the way.
Leadership is a performing art. You have to perform the role you are in at any moment in such a way that the consequences contribute to the path you need to be on.
It is not a matter of being intentionally “deceitful.” It is a matter of playing the strategic role that you need to play at all times – and of doing so masterfully.
It is more a matter of saying (or doing) what needs to be said (or done).
It requires you to think before you speak. And to think just as carefully about how you should interpret what others say, or what you read or observe.
That’s good. But when most people are “communicating,” they are on autopilot. They are not thinking strategically, if at all. They are merely engaging and speaking out or interpreting what comes their way with the least possible effort on their part.
As a leader, you have to be different. You have to be cautiously strategic before speaking (or doing) or interpreting what others say (or do).
– Lee Thayer