Never worry about who will be offended by truth, only those who will be hurt by a lie

·4 min read

Occasionally I am taken aback by decisions taken in some organizations, decisions that simply defy logic. Consequently, I have thought long and hard why problems pervade and persist in organizations. Meanwhile, the reasons in circulation or disseminated are deceptive and intended distractions from the actual reasons for the problems.

For example, favoritism, a variant of corruption, is a huge problem in organizations, especially if the individual favored lacks the skill set for the job. Nepotism is another significant problem in social organizations, especially if the relative involved is lacking in qualification, making the position sort of a sinecure.

What are administrators with unlimited access to leaders telling the leaders, what they want the leaders to know or what the leaders should know? The reputation or character of administrators, their track record, integrity, and ethical and moral rectitude, are not to be assumed impeccable and incorrigible. Prejudiced and diffident administrators are apt to tell leaders what they want the leaders to know while keeping the realities on the ground from the leaders. Such administrators would suppress dissent from those of their subordinates who may be dubbed “troublemakers,” as they mislead the leaders whom they should advise in good faith.

For example, administrators may recommend to their leaders and have them believe that a decision for change in a section of the organization was made with all the immediate stakeholders in that section the change would affect involved and in support of the change, even though it was not true. The fact is that some stakeholders in that section often are left out of the communication loop. This falsehood then is believed to be true because those who know what is going on have limited or no access to the leaders. And sometimes when these potential whistleblowers do gain access to leaders, their information may be dismissed as the rantings of disgruntled employees. Some of the administrators may even be in cahoots with certain subordinates in the organizations considered powerful or that the administrators owe a favor to get the leaders to do what may not bode well for the organizations.

Also, administrators that are only interested in keeping their job would go along with suggestions for change from some of their subordinates because they don’t want to ruffle feathers. To these administrators and their ilk, I paraphrase Amanda Pittman and say never worry about who will be offended if you speak the truth, but to think and worry about who will be misled, deceived and destroyed if you don’t. Those who are most likely to be destroyed by any fabricated malicious change when leaders are misled and deceived are usually employees without godfathers or connections and minorities in organizations. The undisclosed purpose of the malicious change would be to set up this category of employees for a subsequent layoff because their positions would be excised as no longer relevant.

Some leaders choose not to doubt what administrators tell or suggest to them because they want to maintain a semblance of stability and peace. Gen. Douglas MacArthur couldn’t have said it on the essence of leadership that a true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. A true leader does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the quality of the actions and integrity of their intent. Suffice it to say leaders are much like eagles: they don’t flock, you find them one at a time.

It is important to see leadership as an opportunity to serve, not a trumpet call to self-importance. Leadership without transparency is a vice, not a virtue. Stephen Covey reminded us that leadership is not a position but moral authority, which comes from following universal and timeless principles like honesty, integrity, treating people with respect. Leaders do the right thing. And there is no wrong time to do the right thing, and no right time to do the wrong thing. Confucius remarked that when leaders lead by example, the people will follow, but only if the administrators assisting leaders act in good faith.

Silence while racism makes bad blood between us is akin to condoning it!

— This is the opinion of St. Cloud resident Anthony Akubue. Submit a Your Turn of your own by emailing it to columns@stcloudtimes.com.

This article originally appeared on St. Cloud Times: Never worry about offending by truth, only who is hurt by a lie

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