A Leader’s Relationship to Truth


Ever notice the word truth is often introduced by a negative versus positive modifier?

The inconvenient truth.

The shocking truth.

The ugly truth.

Why is it that so often the truth surprises us? And not in a good way.

Truth is an elusive journey and an unavoidable destination. Eventually, we all arrive at the same place.

What is true is already so. Owning up to it doesn’t make it worse. Not being open about it doesn’t make it go away. And because it’s true, it is what is there to be interacted with. Anything untrue isn’t there to be lived. People can stand what is true, for they are already enduring it.

~ Eugene Gendlin

As leaders, we have a responsibility to pursue the truth and bring it into the light so we can act on it and help others to do the same.

Perhaps, a better way to say it is that leaders have an important role to play in exposing the information that will lead to better choices. Truth, in this context, refers to understanding and responding effectively to reality.

We have an amazing power to remain in, (individual or collective), denial despite all evidence to the contrary.  The longer we remain attached to our beliefs, perceptions and expectations the harder it becomes to accept other possibilities.

While the truth may be difficult to accept, it is much less painful to align ourselves with reality than to meet it as a brick wall.

Guiding ourselves and others through the process of truth-seeking takes courage and commitment. It requires that we peel back the layers. look unflinchingly at the situation from different points of view and accept what we find there. We allow ourselves to become more aware. Better prepared to act on what is, rather than what we expect or want to believe.

Many leaders have risen to success on a strong vision, sound business intelligence and exceptional people skills only to fail because they were not willing to be a truth seeker.

  • Truth-Seekers recognize that denial is contagious.
  • Truth-Seekers know that success can be dangerous.
  • Truth-seekers listen beyond the words.
  • Truth-seekers ask the question everyone else is thinking about.
  • Truth-seekers value disagreement over flattery.
  • Truth-seekers know discomfort can be a good thing.
  • Truth-seekers choose what is needed over what is easy.
  • Truth-seekers push beyond the obvious answer.
  • Truth-seekers pursue diverse ideas and opinions.
  • Truth-seekers welcome the truth over their truth.

Leaders of this caliber are not easy to find. This is the road less traveled. When we come across this kind of leader we immediately admire them and quickly learn to trust them. While the road they choose may at times be more difficult, we know they are trying to help us reach our destination in the best way possible.

What is your relationship to truth?

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