Lie to Me…

This entry is part 10 of 12 in the series Lead Like Churchill

Bill Gladwell and Jonathan Sandys

Don’t you sometimes find you meet the most interesting people in the most unexpected places and, when you part, you feel your life has been affected for the better? This week, I have. In South Carolina, where I was speaking at the Rotary District Conference.

Bill is pitched as a hypnotist, and although he is a qualified hypnotist, initially making a living on stage, today he practices as a much more engaging human lie detector. Based-off the scientific research of Dr. Paul Ekman, serialized by Fox in the crime drama, Lie to Me, Bill creates a very thought-provoking performance that gives the illusion he can read your mind. However, Bill admits he cannot, and holds dubious the claims of those who can. Rather, he uses finely-honed skills of observation to interpret the facial expressions and body language of others.

Asking an audience member to write something they love on a piece of paper, Bill then asks five questions and from those extrapolates what the person wrote. It was fun to watch, and from the performance that was witnessed last night, I can see how easy it would be for someone with Bill’s talent to dispense with integrity and resolve to be rich by reducing his hard-studied, respectable profession to the depths of a personal get-rich-quick scheme. However, as he told me: “I’m not a con-man, and don’t like those who are.”

Today we see many different sorts of leaders rising. Some wave the banner of peace and goodwill while playing an audience for their own self-gratification, narcissism and personal gain. However, as we discussed a few weeks ago there are others, like Bill, who grasp the great privilege the title of Leader bestows, and recognize that with the sometimes enormous power and influence they have, responsibility and integrity are not options, but rather, requirements.

If courage and faith are necessary characteristics of leadership, integrity must also be incorporated to complete the full circle and steer leaders from self, to genuine service.

Attempting great leadership while lacking one of the aforementioned principles is like removing one side of a house of cards and expecting it to stand. Courage, faith, and integrity are the foundations on which the greatest leaders have led their countries, companies and people to achieve feats that few, sometimes none thought possible.

The incredible code breaker Alan Turing and his famous Bombe, the model on which computers began. President Kennedy, who, way before the means and feasibility of space exploration had been addressed, stood confidently in Texas and told the world that a man would go to the moon in that decade. Or the teacher who on Monday, will inspire a student to make a difference, whether it be considered major or minor by our standards.

All those I have mentioned were or are leaders, but it is their integrity that, in the case of Turning and Kennedy changed the world.

For the teacher, integrity is even more vital. Teachers have a greater responsibility than others, because without their knowledge and influence, Turing would never have been capable of giving the Allies an edge to defeat Hitler, and those amazing minds at NASA would never have gained the knowledge to think outside the scientific box and persevere through failure.

If you want to be beloved and secure, lead with integrity. Greatness comes through service above self.

If you would like to know more about Thought Reader, Actor and Consultant Bill Gladwell, please visit: Bill Gladwell Live.

If you would like to know more about the Lead Like Churchill leadership course, please visit: Lead Like Churchill.

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