Is Truth Dead?

Is Truth Dead?

In a world where leaders spin reality and use alternative facts to make things seem better than they are, is dishonesty becoming the new norm? Or, as a Time Magazine cover asks, “Is Truth Dead?” “Morality, like art, means drawing a line somewhere.” ~ Oscar Wilde When leaders play loose with truth, they make it more comfortable for everyone to do the same thing. When we see successful people getting away with untruths, we start telling our own lies. We call them “our perspective.” When there are no sanctions, why not? After the financial crisis of 2008, few leaders were punished; and many were let go with multi-million dollar compensation packages. Dwindling confidence in what our leaders say has become the subject of late-night talk shows and comedy riffs. New terms for this abound: “alternate facts,” and “fake news.” This is of serious concern to anyone who seeks to make the world a better place. It seems that power is often achieved by spinning the truth. “Leaders are, by definition, people in positions of great power. And research consistently demonstrates that ‘powerful people lie more often and with more ease.’” ~ Jeffrey Pfeffer, Leadership BS, Fixing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time, HarperBusiness, September 2015 Have we become blasé? Is being honest less important than achieving what we want? It’s time we look at ourselves as responsible for a truthful culture. Everyone Does It Everyone engages in dishonest behaviors, sometimes for good reasons, and often not. Is it part of our human nature? We seem to tolerate a certain amount of “fudging.” We almost expect it to...
Be the Authentic Leader Your People Need

Be the Authentic Leader Your People Need

Many leaders are unaware of how their lack of authenticity chips away at people, breeding dissatisfaction, distrust and disloyalty. Organizational effectiveness and productivity suffer when workers view leaders as inauthentic. One out of three people distrusts his or her employer, according to the 2017 Edelman “Trust Barometer.” Four out of five don’t see authenticity in their leaders’ performance. When only 20 percent of leaders come across as genuine, they risk handicapping their organizations with insufficient influence, poor worker engagement and, ultimately, disappointing corporate results. People want to be led well. They want assurance that their best interests are important and that their future is in safe hands. They need to believe their leaders will make sound, effective decisions. Inauthentic leaders destroy employee confidence. The Real Deal Authenticity is an emotionally vital state of well-being for employees—one that heavily relies on a leader’s consistent trueness, explains consultant Karissa Thacker in The Art of Authenticity (Wiley, 2016). The author suggests that leaders recognize this principle as irrefutable in order to enhance interdependence. The best leaders undergo continual self-assessment and improvement to convert habitual behaviors into authentic ones. Being authentic encompasses several other key leadership mandates: Be self-aware. Earn respect. Connect. Convey credibility. Earn trust. Successful leaders optimize each of these behaviors to develop character and broaden influence. Be Self-Aware Great leaders know themselves well, notes Brenda Ellington Booth, a clinical professor of management at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business. When you recognize your limitations and weaknesses, you can openly admit to them, and learn to compensate and find workable solutions. Focusing on self-improvement, with an emphasis on asking others to...