3imgTruth, Lies, and Authenticity

“Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning, and under every deep a lower deep opens.”1

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Allow me to be blunt: People lie. Leaders lie. Followers lie. You lie, and yes, I lie. Telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth is just not realistic or pragmatic. If your boss says to you: “I'm excited about having Bob move over to our team from supply chain. He brings a great skill set. Will you help him get to know the rest of the team?” You say, “Sure, no problem.”

You've never liked Bob. You have no intention of helping him become a part of the team. He undermined you two years ago when you were up for a promotion. But you won't tell your boss that you can't stand Bob for personal reasons. Telling the truth just isn't practical in this case. Is it still possible for you to be authentic and be careful what you say to your boss?

Now for my most frequent type of lie. My smart friend asks, “Did you read the op-ed piece in The New York Times on Sunday about the crisis in Syria?” “Yes,” I reply, “it was thoughtful.” It is probably a reasonable bet to say it was thoughtful. The problem with my answer is the yes part. I have no idea what the op-ed regarding Syria said or did not say!

To use a phrase coined by Maria Sirois, we ...

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