“You Want the Truth? You can’t handle the Truth.”

Most movie buffs recognize this line from the movie, “A Few Good Men,” spoken by Jack Nicolson to a young Tom Cruise. Great leaders help their team deal with the truth. Not as they want it to be, but as it is. Assessing the truth about the non-human elements of your organization is usually a straight forward academic exercise.

Difficulty comes when dealing with the perceptions and emotions of the live humans that make up your team.

Teamwork becomes a problem when there’s strong disagreement about the distance between the world as they think it is, how everyone thinks it should be and the way it is. Great leaders know how to bring all three world’s into focus while maintaining the peace and advancing the vision.

Great leadership is more than accumulating the facts. It’s developing a team out of very diverse and gifted individuals who have learned how to handle each other’s perceptions of the truth with emotional maturity. Only mature leaders, regardless of position or title, can accomplish that task.

Management is all about the facts. Leadership is all about what the facts mean. It’s called the truth. It’s hard to argue with the facts, though I’ve seen many try. The mark of a great leader is their ability to lead with truth, not just the facts. Facts are impartial and without feeling. Truth always considers the feelings and outcomes to whom the facts apply.