Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our former Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.
This series of posts flows from two premises and one conclusion: (1) people follow leaders; (2) Jesus is The Perfect Leader; and therefore (3) everyone (including marketplace leaders) should consider following Jesus.
GREAT LEADERS ARE TRUTH TELLERS
“I am the way and the truth and the life.” ~Jesus
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” ~Albert Einstein
From personal experience, truth can hurt. In fact, it doesn’t take much mental effort to conclude that truth (a belief that corresponds with reality) has consequences, a topic covered in an earlier series.
Not only does truth have consequences. Truth telling is arguably the cornerstone of ethical behaviour. Most would agree that honesty, which includes avoiding the use of deceit, admitting wrongdoing and telling the truth (even when it hurts), is an admirable quality in any leader.
One of the best examples I know is Henry Braun, the mayor of Abbotsford. Prior to being elected mayor, Henry was the co-owner, president and CEO of Abbotsford-based Pacific Northern Rail Contractors Corp. At a LeaderImpact Forum in 2017, he shared the following story.
In the early 1990s and three years after a contract had closed, Henry became aware his company had over-billed its largest customer by more than $100,000. In a meeting with the Vice President of this major national company, he was asked why he would bring the matter up three years after the fact. The company was so large that, had Henry not told them, they would likely have never discovered the mistake.
Henry told the Vice President that he knew the truth and therefore, based upon his personal values, was compelled to rectify the mistake. Because of his integrity, the customer sent them more business than they could handle over the next few years. Henry admitted that he had not always put so much importance on honesty. However, his relationship with Jesus that began at age 38 so transformed his life he was able to tell the truth (even when it hurt!).
Jesus never once avoided the truth. Indeed, per the opening quote, he defined himself as truth and his purpose as testifying to the truth. Scholars, even those hostile to the Christian faith, have consistently concluded over the centuries that Jesus was neither a liar nor a lunatic. In this context, Jesus’ statement that he is the embodiment of truth demands attention since he claimed deity!
Wherever he went during his short but remarkable public ministry, Jesus confronted everyone with the unvarnished truth. As a result, people followed him or shunned him. The nation’s leaders were deeply offended when Jesus put his finger on their motives. On other occasions, his words jarred his own followers when he revealed what was in their hearts as well as his ultimate mission. The thread uniting all his comments was love for both friends and enemies.
J. P. Moreland, recognized as one of the world’s foremost philosophers, has asserted that the key question today is not “what is truth?” Rather it is “can we know what is true?” As it happens, we can know Jesus, who is the truth!
Next week, we will examine perseverance, another key characteristic of great leaders.
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.