Art portrays humanity in a way that few mediums can. A painting can illustrate both the complexity and simplicity of life with its flaws and triumphs. There’s no shame in the imperfections because they illustrate the whole story… the whole truth.
Many times in leadership we try to “paint a pretty picture” of situations in the hope that others will see the good side of things. We try to positively spin tough decisions we’ve made or directions we’re taking so those we’re leading aren’t disillusioned in any way. While a positive spin can help reveal the potential good, we have to make sure it doesn’t mask reality. Sometimes there’s nothing to hide and we can put it all on the table because we’re simply trying to “always look on the bright side of life” (cue whistling). Other times it masks impropriety, lack of accountability or poor decision-making.
That’s when painting a pretty picture becomes the art of deception.
Whether we’re parents, pastors, coaches, managers, or politicians there’s a level of transparency that’s not only expected but demanded of us. We must make the tough decision and be real about how it affects people. We must acknowledge loss or setbacks. We must be willing to face conflict. We must own up to our own mistakes.
A flawed leader is an authentic leader, and an authentic leader is a trusted one. Embrace your imperfections and tell the story of who you really are… a picture made pretty by truth, honesty and integrity… a picture of humanity and a leader worth following.