Sunday, 9 February 2014

If you think your family is dysfunctional...

I was half expecting Jeremy Kyle to feature in August: Osage County as this is a family that collect more secrets than most and express their feelings in somewhat dramatic ways. I am aware that this film has attracted some criticism for being just too darn contrived to win a set of Oscars. For me that is churlish and possibly misogynist: there are performances here by the main characters that rivet you to your cinema seat. This is a powerful movie of an extraordinary play, which will leave you spinning and catching up on the breaths you forgot to take during the film.

In my head, I connect the film to Secrets and Lies (one of my all time favourite movies), which is also about how family secrets and lies destroy families. Go and see August: Osage County (if only for the song played by Benedict Cumberbatch's character towards the end of the movie).

Critical to the story is the 'truth tellin' by Meryl Streep's character which tears emotional strips of her nearest and dearest. This got me to wondering what kind of 'truth tellin' leaders should engage in.

Should leaders tell the truth? Of course.

The whole truth and nothing but the truth? Possibly so in the end, but otherwise strategically and deliberately. The unvarnished truth is a powerful elixir to be administered with great care in case its medicinal properties turn to poison by dint of bad timing and quantity.

As a leader, under what conditions do you tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but? And under what conditions do you hold back? Why?

This is the twelfth of my new series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I am doing this. Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

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