There are four kinds of truth, and three sides to every story.
In the movie The Kid Stays in the Picture, Robert Evans offers this thought: “There are three sides to every story: my side, your side, and the truth. And no one is lying.”
I’ve long believed there are actually four kinds of truth: My truth, Your Truth, Our Truth, and THE Truth.
My truth is how I see the world. Your truth is how you see it. In the famous optical illusion, I might see an old lady, but you see a young lady. Who’s right?
In a conflict, I sometimes forget that “my” truth isn’t necessarily “the” truth, and when I persist in that belief, the other guy often gets more passionate about sticking to his truth.
A leader is one who can explore both sides of the story openly, and, while planting his or her stake, can also be open to moving the stake. In an authentic conversation, both parties can explore the common ground – “our” truth.
Whether our truth is really THE truth is probably unknowable – and not all that important anyway. Leaders help people move from having sides to having common ground.