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can a leader say everything?

The Covid-19 epidemic brings us to the following question, as much ethical as strategic or political: can a leader, be he head of state, minister or entrepreneur, say everything? And should he say everything? The ability to communicate is, according to many studies of leadership, a determining criterion for becoming a leader. And conversely, poor communication, or no communication, can affect efficiency, or even cause problems or malfunctions.

In the life of organizations, secrecy is sometimes an obligation, even in advanced democracies. Thus, in the event of war, an army chief must not reveal plans of attack. In companies, business secrecy is a necessity; you cannot disclose the negotiation of a contract. Some professionals, such as lawyers or doctors, are severely bound by professional secrecy (we speak of medical confidentiality for carers).

>> Read also – When can you lie to your troops?

In the case of the coronavirus, our political leaders have no secret information to speak of, strictly speaking. On the other hand, they must be cautious in all their declarations and behaviors and are undoubtedly divided between the need for transparency demanded by the citizens, and the uncertainties caused by the epidemic. The leaders, faced with this crisis, cannot say everything, because they do not know everything themselves. It is therefore difficult, in this uncertain and chaotic context, to communicate with conviction. The communication of a leader, in a context of change or contingency, must above all be sincere, modest, motivating and consistent.

Leaders must do everything to say the most true things. It’s called sincerity: “I can’t say everything, but everything I tell you is sincere.” A leader has the right to admit that he does not know or that he needs more information or time to communicate.

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