[April 18, 2014] Everyone knows the story of Pinocchio, the little puppet-boy who lied and his nose grew longer with each lie. Lying is a problem in our society because it breaks the bond between people and leaders. And now we have a poll just released1 that claims that most Americans believe that President Obama “lies on important issues.” A year ago he was given the dubious “Pinocchio Award” for his “lies.”
If this poll were about any of our politicians, I suspect we would have similar results. Regardless, this is not the type of news anyone in a senior leadership position should be making. Critics will claim that the president has a hate campaign against him. While there is truth to the charge, the fact is that most people in American believe it (true or not). When people believe something, they will act accordingly – “perception is reality.”
If someone makes an honest mistake and gives out false information, then the error should be immediately resolved by admitting to it publically and repeatedly. A little humility goes a long way to helping overcome the perception issue. Our president and his advisors should be out in front of this and explain to the American people what he said was in error (not lies), and if it was true why it is true. This way his leadership credibility will remain intact.
All the more reason that good leaders step up to face the public and resolve problems quickly.
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