Bathe, don’t bring it…

Yesterday, a good friend told me a story about some uninvited truth telling that didn’t go so well. As leaders, it’s our role to bring unchosen suffering to our team – it’s our job to tell teammates truth, some of which is really gonna hurt ‘em. Fact. No matter how well you master the delivery, it’s not always going to be well received. Leaders have to bench hurting humans. Leaders have to fire hurting humans. Leaders have to do their job and put the best performers on the stage even when it means pulling another they love. Leaders choose this suffering.

Here’s the nuance and a rather big one it is. This doesn’t apply at home. When you head home, leader, remember to flip the script regarding truth. Your job is to invite family, friends, and loved ones to hit you with hard truth. Listen. Let it in. Thank them. Tell them what you’re gonna do with it and ask them to keep it coming. Do not hit them with any hard truth that happens to be top of mind, however. Hold onto it, instead. Wait. Keep waiting. Keep waiting some more.


Wait, leader, until your family, friends, and loved ones invite you to hit them with truth. Wait. Some of your loved ones will never choose to take the red pill. Not everyone is destined to be Neo (The Matrix). The norm is to go through life taking the blue pill and living comfortably not knowing or caring about the truth of things. Your job, leader, when you’re home is to model the way. Bathe in truth but don’t bring it. Wait. Someday you may be invited in. Tread slowly. Remember how hard it is to hear. Dose it out lovingly and gingerly. Bathe, don’t bring it…

At work, leader, your job is bilateral bathing in truth. You deliver unchosen suffering (when required) and invite others to bring the hard truth to you. At home it’s unilateral – you invite truth and hold onto the heat seeker. You wait for the invitation. If it never comes, you make peace instead of making ‘em pay. Welcome to the responsibility of leading anything. You choose truth, the alpha and omega of leadership. You choose suffering and deliver unchosen suffering when your job demands it. You’ve come to understand it’s only gonna get worse for awhile. Peace is always found on the other side of acute pain, remember. Take the red pill, leader. Go on. Swallow hard, and smile. Soon, the truth’s gonna set you free (John 8:32)!

God, help me model the way, embrace pain and suffering, and embody truth in love. God, help me. Good…

1 thought on “Bathe, don’t bring it…

  1. Love it Toto. So true that when we seek our own glory we take it — usurp it — from man AND God. Which is all about the “I”.

    When we don’t seek it — but rather give it away to God and others, there is a paradox. God delights in giving it to us. We were born for glory – that’s God’s idea — but we are to not take it, but rather receive it from him. Leaders are believers, and believers are receivers.

    Together we transform, not transact.

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