As a leader, you’ll find that the truth is always your friend. 5

from book

Think of those times when a lie – a white one, or worse – has caught up with you and made you wish the earth would just swallow you then and there. What you learn is that at some point – often when we’re least expecting it – the lie will wind its way toward you. You learn the hard way that it is better to be truthful. As a leader, you should always be comfortable with the truth. Think of those stories of corporate malfeasance – like VW’s infamous cover-up of diesel emissions, in which the company deceived emissions regulators about their vehicles. Think of those times corporate leadership told employees, investors and government a complicated web of lies.  Then picture the consequences of that deceit: an oil spill from a tanker choking fish and seabirds, because regulatory guidelines had been flouted, or the bankruptcy that means hundreds of employees are suddenly without a livelihood. People, whole communities and the planet suffer because someone high up hasn’t been able to face the truth. This culture of deceit begins at the top, so it is at the top that change needs to happen. And that change is personal, before it is anything else. It begins with facing reality, and having the courage to turn away from the delusionary dreams that have kept things heading slowly, like the Titanic, toward disaster. Consequently, a new culture of honesty needs to pervade our workplaces. This is what the author calls broken-open-hearted warriorship, where leadership figures are unafraid to be vulnerable, truthful and strong at the same time. A great example of this comes from one of the author’s leadership workshops. There, a young woman confessed that she’d recently been diagnosed with a rare blood cancer. She was terrified of telling her company’s investors in case they withdrew their support. Only a few people, including her husband and some close friends, had known about her illness, until this moment at the leadership workshop.  In the months that followed, inspired by the author’s call to honesty, she shared her story with her colleagues and, eventually, her investors. Rather than panicking and pulling out, the investors rallied ‘round and supported her. Vitally, she’d broken the spell of deception. She’d made the first move toward a culture of broken-open-hearted warriorship. And she was rewarded for it.