Hi! I'm Stephanie, founder of the Empowered Leaders Academy.

EMPOWERED LEADERS - Leading with Honesty vs. Being "Nice"

Published about 1 month ago • 3 min read

Welcome Back, Empowered Leader,

I'm so glad you're here, Reader!

Leading with Honesty vs. Being "Nice"

Not all leadership journeys begin smoothly. Sometimes, honesty is the most effective tool for a new leader's growth.

Reader, let me tell you a story, where my initial skepticism turned to success...

I inherited a team where a promotion had already been unofficially promised to a team member. This individual, let's call him John, wasn't prepared for the leadership responsibilities the role entailed.

Knowing it was crucial for John's success (and the team's) to have the right person in the lead role, I had an honest conversation with him.

I clearly stated my expectations for someone who took our lead position and directly expressed my concern that he wasn't quite ready for the increased responsibilities of leadership.

What would a "Nice" manager have done?

They would have avoided this difficult conversation and hoped for the best.

John acknowledged to me that he was just looking for a promotion with a pay increase... not really a lead role. He asked for time to think it over.

Now, if you knew John... and if I had known him longer than just a couple of months... we both would have realized that he took this as a challenge! Our conversation lit a flame within him - to prove to both me and himself that he could do this. (As another stubborn and motivated person myself, I understand this!)

John had thought about our conversation over the weekend and approached me on Monday. He had some tough questions for me this time...

He asked me if he took the role, if I'd be willing to help him be a successful leader. Without hesitation, I emphasized my commitment to our team's success, which meant that if he took this role, I was also committed to his development as a leader.

BUT... I made it very clear that if he took the role, he would have to meet higher expectations. I would offer all the support and guidance I could, but was honest with him of the challenges ahead.

What would a "Nice" manager have done?

They would have given John the promotion and dealt with the aftermath only when necessary.

Our honest conversation, while very uncomfortable for both of us initially, fostered a foundation of trust and transparency. John's transition into leadership was one of the most trying times for both of us. (Another tough conversation about potential termination occurred at one very low point.)

However, John's story made a remarkable turnaround. He made incredible strides as a leader, with a new sense of direction. His transformation was so impactful that even his wife took notice. She asked him to thank me for the positive changes she saw in John as a person at home, not just as a leader at work.

An honest, kind manager can make all the difference through:

Honest assessment (providing feedback)

Direct communication (delivered with care)

Supportive coaching (guidance as a catalyst for growth)

While I've had many difficult conversations with various team members and colleagues over time, this story represents one of the toughest.... but also one that had the most impact on me, my entire team, and especially John.

I assure you that not all difficult conversations will take this much work, Reader! Yet, they can all be as fruitful to building a foundation of trust and transparency that will ultimately make you and your team stronger.

Starting with the smaller difficult conversations now, will prepare you for the bigger ones. Don't put them off! Practice with the little things... you've got this, Reader!

📩 When you, or your organization, are ready to focus on leadership development,

I'm here and ready to guide you on that journey! 📩

Speaking of Difficult Conversations...

I'm considering creating an online course for leaders on how to prepare for, have, and follow-up on difficult conversations.

Would a course like this interest you, Reader?


  1. Yes, absolutely!
  2. Maybe - it depends on a few things...
  3. Not me, but I know someone who would be interested
  4. Nah, I'm good

Speaking of Online Courses...

⏳ Mastering Time Management & Delegation...for Busy Managers ⏳

(With concepts you can use right away!)

Reader, ever feel like you're constantly running on fumes?

You're not alone.

Between endless emails, meetings, and admin tasks... who has the time or energy to be a leader?

Stop drowning... and Start thriving!

It's time to start feeling in control of your time again.

I've created a 4-week email course, for you to:

  • Regain control of your time
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This course is currently in beta testing...

Join the WaitList to purchase the course in May


📩 Reply to let me know you want to be a beta tester. 📩

(Trade feedback on the course for a discounted price - only a few spaces left!)

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Wishing You Success,

Stephanie Weiss

Your Empowered Leadership Coach

P.S. I welcome your feedback and your ideas for future topics. Reply

Hi! I'm Stephanie, founder of the Empowered Leaders Academy.

Guiding newer corporate leaders to transition from doer to boss - offering coaching, training & group support to help you build an extraordinary team along the way! Sign up for my newsletter, join an upcoming live event, apply to the community, or get 1:1 coaching.

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