Sunday, April 26, 2009

Truth Telling and Billy Taylor Race

Photo courtesy of Heathstones.

Truth Telling
In ancient times, court jesters were used primarily to provide feedback and criticism to the leader. Because they were, in theory, jokers, anything they said was "a joke" so they could get away with giving feedback that would have cost others their lives. They still had to employ tact and diplomacy as their role did not give them total immunity. (As I write this I am thinking what a nice leader I must be as I rarely have people beheaded or whipped).

One of the roles that I like to have around me in leadership is the truth teller.

A truth teller tells me the truth. It tends to be tough and leaders tend to be insulated so they need this.

Sometimes the truth teller states the obvious things that I know in my heart but it gets me moving to solving the challenge.
A good leader encourages truth telling. A good team member truth tells tactfully and respectfully, without sarcasm. It takes both to make a perfect team.

Today I ran the Billy Taylor 15K race. Perfect weather for it. Perhaps 15 degrees C and overcast. The race started fast. Many of the participants were only doing a 5 K and there were a lot of students who tend to jack rabbit start. So I let many people pass me.
It was windy and by the time the 5K runners were turning around, I thought, "I should just do 5K next time". The course was considerably ligher after the 5K runners dropped off.
I was at 19:30 at 4K (I asked another runner who was checking his watch as I do not run with one).
By 7K, I was steadily passing runners. Hitting the 7K mark was great since I often run 5 miles (8K) so I knew I was on the home stretch. The wind seemed to lessen.
By 10K, the runners had spread out and I was largely running alone.
In the end, I finished in 1:13:49 or 4:54/K or 7:56/mile. Not a bad finish.
The toughest part of the run was after when I had to run 3K to get home. My muscles were sore by then and I had let them seize up a bit.
Running a race is not the best Time Management technique for running (It took most of the morning by the time you show up, get your number etc) but it is one of the tricks I use for exercise motivation.


At 7:08 AM, Anonymous Monique Attinger said...

Unfortunately, most leaders don't like truth telling and are more likely to justify their actions than honestly review what they are doing / the company is doing, and then discern appropriate next steps. It takes a degree of character to be able to take feedback well - and then act on it, rather than be defensive.

At 9:37 AM, Blogger George Torok said...


Congrats on running the 15k in a good time.


At 9:16 PM, Blogger FRANCESCA said...

Yes! Congratulations on your run!

Love the pic on this post- sweet.

A couple of years ago I had a supervisor who gave you the truth, always! She did so in such a kind and gentle manner that you learned from this positive constructive criticism. The lessons I learned from her I now apply to my own life/business. People always respect honesty and when it is done from the heart with a gentle voice it speaks__it says "I care about you and what you are doing." She would also affirm pointing out your strong always felt appreciated which made you want to achieve higher goals. A kind word is like an energizing drink!


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