Great Leaders Welcome The Truth
We often witness individuals who seem to fear learning the truth, either because of some sort of fear, or to protect some prejudice, prejudgment or bias. Especially during political campaigns, many of these individuals seem to treat truth as an enemy, replacing it with whatever spin, half – truth, or misinterpretation of data and facts best serves their predetermined point of view. However, truly great leaders welcome the truth, because whether they like it or not, actual facts are needed to make wise judgments. Wittgenstein wrote, “When one is frightened of the truth, then it is never the whole truth that one has an inkling.” Great leaders realize that the facts and the realities do not change imply because we don’t like them, and an understanding and desire for truths distinguishes great leaders from the wannabes.
1. There is generally some truth in almost any statement. For example, in advertising, while actual lies are generally avoided (if, for no other reason, than fear of legal ramifications), how these facts are interpreted often creates the desired spin. In recent years, for example, in politics, the many fact checking organizations are constantly discovering that statements made in political campaigns, etc., are often, at best, incomplete and misleading. Products are often marketed the same way, when every cable company claims to better, with better services at better prices, and every cellphone company states that it is better than its competition. Wouldn’t we all be better served by the truth?
2. Truth is a factor in a number of ways when it comes to the quality of leadership. It is obvious that truly great leaders are honest, and commit to absolute integrity. However, it is not only about simply being truthful, but rather how a leader gathers information. The information gathered generally determines the facts or basis by which decisions are made, and if those decisions are made on the basis of less than the whole truth, the probability of errors being made, and poor judgments, are compounded. Wisdom comes about as a result of a combination of attitude, knowledge, judgment, and self – confidence, so obviously if the basis of the knowledge is less than completely factual, there is a large possibility of misinterpretation or less than a thoroughly planned and vetted action. True leadership is about taking timely action, and that requires comprehending, in detail the possible ramifications, and examining as many alternatives as possible.
Our greatest leaders always want all the facts. They may not always like them, but realize that there is a need for a reality check.