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To Tell the Truth

“My name is Bob McDonald and I was in Army Special Forces.”Dan Weedin Unleashed-40

“My name is Bob McDonald and I was in Army Special Forces.”

“My name is Bob McDonald and I was in Army Special Forces.”

Will the real Bob McDonald stand up?

If you watched the old game show, To Tell the Truth, you will recognize this exchange. Three people all claiming to be the same person, yet 2 are fibbing. Of course, they are fibbing on purpose to fool the contestant. Seems like newly minted Veteran Affairs boss Bob McDonald is taking a cue from NBC News anchor Brian Williams and playing the fool.

I watched the news last night and watched with my own eyes the video of Mr. McDonald having a dialogue with a veteran who had fallen on hard times. He asked what service the man had been in and the response was, “Army…Special Forces.” The head of the federal administration that is tasked with helping this American hero in bad times then glibly replies, “Yeah…I was Army Special Forces!, too” Trouble for McDonald is he wasn’t. Yes, he was in the army. No he wasn’t in Special Forces. Oops.

McDonald quickly apologized after he was called out by a veterans group that did a little fact checking. A contrite McDonald said he made a mistake “in an effort to connect” with this man. The term “misstatement” has now been used again in just a matter of weeks. It’s becoming as popular to use as Marshawn Lynch saying, “I’m only here so I won’t get fined.” At least Marshawn is telling the truth!

Here’s how to connect. Be humble. You can say, “Wow, I was army too, but not special forces. What an honor to meet you!”

McDonald is no newbie to leadership positions. You don’t get to be hired for this role by the President of the United States if you have no background in leadership. Which leads me to believe that “misstatements” may also be idly tossed about on a daily basis around board rooms and offices around the world. In business, it’s harder to get caught and easier to get away with.

Here’s the deal…

If you desire to be influential; to be a leader; and to be significant (see my previous article on this matter), then your misstatements need to be actual mistakes, not a fancy word for lying. The quickest way to lose credibility to your team (employees, co-workers, clients, boss, community) is to stand up and lie. Let’s be clear, a lot of misstatements being made are probably considered “little white lies;” you know those things that won’t actually hurt anyone.

Do yourself a favor. If you’re reading this, there’s a pretty good chance you are in some leadership or management position. Even if it’s being influential in your family with your kids, you at some point are being looked at to guide. The best way you can gain trust and lead effectively over time is to avoid “misstatements” like the ones Mr. Williams and Mr. McDonald have recently made. Instead, learn how to improve your language skills so you can honestly, genuinely, and with empathy tell the truth.

© 2015 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

  1. Debbie Wardrop
    February 25, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    Spot on!

    Sent from my iPhone Debbie Wardrop 360-301-3217

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