Blowing Smoke

honesty No Comments

     Recently, I read a comment that turned out to be a real gem.  It came from a book that reveals the leadership qualities of Robert E. Lee, general of the Army of the Confederacy.  The quote was written prior to the Civil War.  Robert E. Lee’s letter to Jack Mackay took a lighter view of publicity.  “We are our own trumpeters, and it is so much more easy to make heroes on paper than in the field.  For one of the latter you meet with twenty of the former, but not till the fight is done.  The fine fellows are too precious of persons so dear to their countrymen to expose them to the view of the enemy, but when the battle is won, they accomplish with the tongue all that they would have done with the sword…” (R. E. Lee to Jack Mackay in ALS U. S. Army Military History Institute, October 2, 1847). 
     “Someone once said that an ounce of “pretention” is worth a pound of manure.  The leadership challenge, in any era, is to produce “smoke free” work environments.  The best way to do that is to keep from blowing smoke yourself”  (Bil Holton, Leadership Lessons of Robert E. Lee, p. 12). 
     In contrast to “political spin” and “braggadocio”, I appeal to you for complete honesty.  The new “buzzword” for honesty is “transparency.”  However, even that word has become subject to “political spin.”  Jesus said, “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; and Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil” (Matt. 5:37).  He also said, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.  A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” (Matt. 12:34-35).  A pure heart speaks honestly and truthfully.  A corrupt heart obscures the truth and speaks lies.  Only the pure in heart shall see God (Matt. 5:8).