I subscribe to the “honesty is the best policy” approach, and believe that healthy leadership is dependent on it.
Here are a few suggestions for combatting alt-facts and strengthening your own ability to lead well.
Just be honest.
People have different ideas, perspectives, and experiences. Most of us have made decisions we are proud of and ones we regret. Our uniqueness is part of the tapestry of what makes us human. Own-up to where you currently stand and what got you there. Do not tolerate the blame-game being perpetuated by others. Articulate as clearly as possible what you want to do, where you seek to go, why you believe it is important and how you need other people help to make that vision happen.
Be willing to change your mind. Being open to listen and challenge your own assumptions leads to growth, and encourages others to be creative. Build on the positives and learn from mistakes. Execute both well-thought out plans and the ability to adapt with new insights gained. Thank those who help you see something you may have overlooked otherwise without them, especially when it leads to something new.
Don’t seek to manipulate – seek to inspire.
Eventually no one will give you the benefit of the doubt with blatant lies, fictions and dubious cover-ups. Lasting leadership requires honesty, living with unpopular or uncomfortable decisions and remaining open to critique.
Remember – leadership is about relationships.
Building trust over time is of higher enduring value than fear-based loyalty. Consider deeply where you hope to bring other people; not what you can get out them to get you there. Admit when you are wrong. Share success. Raise-up and value other leaders around you.
Start with the truth.
Nobody is perfect, but leaders are called to a higher standard of transparency. Mark Twain said, “When in doubt, tell the truth.” Jesus said, “The truth will set you free.”
In the end, your degree of integrity will be your legacy. “Alt-facts” only serve to undermine everything.