In principle, we expect our leaders to tell the truth and it’s easy to criticize them for lying. But let’s be honest, we also expect leaders to keep secrets. There is not a highly revered leader among us — a politician, a CEO, a minister, a parent — who has not held secrets for the benefit of their followers.
In fact it might be said that the leader’s heart is where otherwise hurtful confessions, embarrassments, and gossip go to die. The leader’s head is where plans are patiently kept safe and refined for future deployment. Leaders’ hearts and heads hold a lot.
I once witnessed a group of parents gathered to celebrate the end of a teacher’s journey with their children. They composed and read to her a poem that said, “Thank you for all you taught each day, and for all the things you did not say.”
Practical Tip: As a follower, understand that your leader is serving multiple interests, not just you. Understand that sometimes your leader serves you by telling the whole truth, and sometimes by holding secrets. Actually, serving many interests and keeping some of them secret is exactly what we want our leaders to do.
As a leader, be discerning and diplomatic about what you say and what you hold. Are you keeping a secret to shield your own indiscretions or to serve your followers? What would best serve others, keep or tell?
Knowing what to keep and when to tell and who to trust is extremely hard. Appreciate those who do it well.
– Craig Freshley