Originally uploaded by Jeremy Dunham
It is always interesting to me when people get upset when someone simply tells the truth. The emotion is typically wrapped up in personal issues like:
- He's a jerk, so I'm not going to listen to him!
- She always exaggerates, so why should I listen to her this time?!?
- Yeah, it's true, but it's none of his business so he should butt out!
- He shouldn't write this stuff because someone might be offended....(grins!)
The fact of the matter is that truth is sometimes a bitter pill to swallow. We are often so deep in the trees of our jobs, our personal lives, our families...that we can't always see the forest. Just because we don't like the truth does not make it any less true.
This is also one of the reasons consultants have work (yeah!). Organizations often already know how to fix their problems, but the emotional and social issues are so dysfunctional they have to hire an outside entity to take the politics out of the way....to strip away the emotional smoke that clouds the truth.
Leaders have to be as honest as the truth. If it hurts to hear it, okay. Deal with it. Don't bury your head in the sand. Face it, listen to it, and deal with it like a responsible, and let's face it, fallible adult. We are not perfect. I make mistakes all the time. I don't always like to hear the truth about my mistakes either, but I try to take a step back and deal with it.
As a leader, respect can only be earned by realizing we are not always right and that someone else might have a better answer. We can grow from this realization and motivate others by our example.