Politicians could try something radical: the truth

Friedman gets one thing right

Dov Seidman, the author of the book “How” whose company LRN advises C.E.O.’s on leadership, has long argued that “nothing inspires people more than the truth.” Most leaders think that telling people the truth makes that leader vulnerable — either to the public or their opponents. They are wrong. “The most important part of telling the truth is that it actually binds you to people,” explains Seidman, “because when you trust people with the truth, they trust you back.”

Obfuscation from leaders just gives citizens another problem — more haze — to sort through. “Trusting people with the truth is like giving them a solid floor,” adds Seidman. “It compels action. When you are anchored in shared truth, you start to solve problems together. It’s the beginning of coming up with a better path.” That is not what we’re seeing from leaders in America, the Arab world or Europe today.

You’d think one of them, just one, would seize the opportunity to enlist their people in the truth: about where they are, what they are capable of, what plan they need to get there and what they each need to contribute to get on that better path. Whichever leader does that will have real “followers” and “friends” — not virtual ones.