The statement lingered even as I asked. How much do you want to know? What are you willing to hear? Candidly, I had no burden to share everything. The new manager would discover everything in time. I could give him a lead, however it would only be that. The truth would reveal itself in time, if he was looking for it and willing to hear.
The challenge is not new. From Jack Nicholson’s character in a movie to a theme that crosses corporations, politics, and relationships, truth is not a given. Frequently, it is hard to have a conversation both parties recognize as candid, open, and honest. Experience suggests that these characteristics along with the willingness to hear from the heart and mind are required for sharing truth. To make it work, it takes at least two with the right attitude, courage, and willingness.
In the question posed, there were three reminders that I took away for the future.
Truth works best when both sides understand the motives. In the question posed, I could have answered like Paul. “So am I getting anything out of it? Yes, as a matter of fact: the pleasure of proclaiming the Message at no cost to you. You don’t even have to pay my expenses!” (1 Corinthians 9.18)
Truth can be heard when it is shared in the context of trust. Good or bad, one hears it differently when there is trust between the two parties. Easy or hard, trust opens a door to our hearts and minds. When it is informational or challenging, trust allows the other to safely ask or take time to reflect.
Truth does not always open a door to a smooth future. It is often problematic to accept or deal with truth because of what follows. Life can be easier without the truth.
In the moment, I paused and reflected, weighing my options. It was a moment with a choice that only I would know about. My answer would define our conversation and relationship. Not responding was not an option.