We all want our leader to be truthful, right? Who would want to follow someone that lies?
But the reality is that few people always tell the truth. Who hasn’t hedged the truth from time to time? Your wife asks how you like her new hairstyle. Do you say that it is horrid? No, not if you want to have a peaceful home. You say something like, “It is very youthful”. The same is true in business. One of your reports says he heard a rumor that there are going to be layoffs in the XYZ department. You know that to be true, but you also know that it can’t be announced or acknowledged until next Friday. So, you dodge the issue by saying, “Really, I hadn’t heard that rumor” or “There are always rumors about all kinds of things”, and change the subject.
In short, we alter the truth to save people’s feelings, or because we are restricted from telling the truth.
To muddy the water further, truth is based on fact. A fact is a fact is a fact is a fact. Not always, because a fact is often a time-sensitive item. What is a fact at 10 a.m. may not be a fact at 2 p.m? So what you say as a fact/truth at 10 a.m. may see as less than truthful at 2 p.m.
So if facts are fluid then truth that is based on fact is also fluid.
Perhaps the best we can hope for in our leaders is they make every effort to be truthful, and if so then we must cut them a bit of slack when their truth seems to fall a bit short of 100%. As someone once said, “Anyone that tells you he/she never lies has just proven that they lie”.