Have you ever heard the expression, “There’s his side, there’s her side, and then there’s the truth?” It can apply to almost any scenario rooted in conflict. Let’s see what that might look like in a workplace situation.
Imagine that you’ve worked productively alongside a colleague for a long time. You’ve collaborated on projects and you make a great fit, energy-wise. Then, your colleague is asked to resign from their position and leave the company. It seems abrupt and unwarranted – you know this person to be a hard worker and a reliable employee with a wealth of knowledge suitable for their role. You also know that they’ve experienced tension in the past with another colleague who has more seniority than them. Surely, you determine, your colleague’s resignation is a result of that conflict.
Aside from how strongly you might feel about this situation, how can you determine that it’s the truth? Sometimes, especially in professional settings where events and conversations aren’t experienced by everyone, we make assumptions based only on the facts we have. We determine “what really happened” for ourselves, when it’s actually not in line with objective truth.
In conscious leadership, we work to see the difference between what’s true and what’s the Truth. We recognize that our version of what’s true is influenced by subjective factors, and that the Truth is a set of non-negotiable facts.
Knowing the difference between what’s true and what’s the Truth helps us navigate a variety of conflicts and experiences.
Exploring Conscious Leadership: Part Three
When we become conscious leaders, we maintain a level of self-awareness that contributes positively to our relationships. It’s because we’re in tune with the process of our thoughts, emotions, and actions. We’re better equipped to handle moments of conflict, having learned to suspend judgment. Most importantly, we’ve developed a deeper understanding of who we are, not by the role we play but by the attitudes we’ve adopted and the energy we bring to our environment.
There are four principles of Conscious Leadership:
- Suspending judgment
- True vs. Truth
- Energetic responsibility
We recommend checking out the previous articles that cover the first principles: “The Connection Between Our Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions,” and “How to Suspend Judgment.”
In this article, we take a closer look at the third principle.
True vs. Truth
It might seem challenging to learn that “true” and “truth” don’t mean the same thing. If two people look up at a cloudless, daytime sky and say it’s sunny, how could either one of them be wrong? In conscious leadership, we explain the difference between true and Truth as follows: True is our interpretation and judgment about events, and Truth is the unbiased fact or reality of a situation.
To further illustrate this difference, let’s return to the scenario at the beginning of the article – in which you determined that your colleague’s resignation was unfair and based on a conflict between them and a senior staff member. Your “true” is defined as your reaction to the situation and the story that you tell yourself. It might be influenced by your professional history with your colleague, your opinion about the senior staff member, what you believe happened, and your limited knowledge of actual events. The Truth, however, contains non-negotiable, objective facts. You aren’t completely knowledgeable about the reason your colleague was asked to leave, what discussions took place between them and other team members, and other realities pertaining to the situation.
Knowing that our thoughts are filtered through a set of personal beliefs and values, it’s impossible to be completely objective – to innately know the Truth – if we don’t have all the facts.
Our “true” is linked directly to the thought-emotion-action process, in which our thoughts generate emotions, and our emotions instigate actions. It’s also influenced by our personality, world view, life experiences, upbringing, culture, and ego. The Truth, on the other hand, exists free from influence and judgment. The only Truth you know in this scenario is that your colleague was asked to resign, and that they no longer work with the organization. Anything outside of that is subject to influences.
This founding principle of conscious leadership goes beyond professional settings. You can begin to see the difference between what’s true and what’s the Truth in everyday scenarios. Consider keeping a journal in which you challenge yourself to do so. When an event (big or small) occurs, jot down a description of it. Then, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I believe is true in this situation?
- What could be influencing me to believe it’s true?
- How is my “true” different from “the Truth?”