Putin issues international arrest warrant for George Soros.

Black Lives Matter thug protests President Trump with selfie . . . accidentally shoots himself in the face.

Passenger allowed onto flight after security confiscates his bomb.

All three of these headlines were widely reported last year. Two of them were fake. Can you tell which one is true?*

Fake news has become part of the world’s daily news cycle. Many people now operate in virtual gated communities or information echo chambers. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction in both the political and popular press. To combat fake news, a growing body of websites and apps give consumers the ability to stop to fact check before sharing headlines in the social media feeds.

But the echo chamber effect is not limited to our smart phones. The same theory can apply to leaders. The higher we climb up the org chart, the greater our tendency is to spend most of our time with our direct reports. By operating in our own virtual gated community at work, we can severely limit our ability to assess reality correctly.

Author and Center for Executive Excellence’s Scholar-in-Residence, Dr. Tony Baron, suggests that leaders must be intentional about building community. To build an inner circle to help you assess reality correctly, Dr. Baron offers this criteria for choosing your community:

1.    Choose those in your community who are with you the most, not those who see you the least.

 

2.    Choose those in your community who can see you at your worst, not just those who see you at your best.

 

3.    Choose those in your community with whom you are willing to eat or play, not just those you are willing to work with.

 

4.    Choose those in your community whom you respect for their integrity, not just those you admire for their accomplishments.

 

5.    Choose those in your community who are willing to listen to understand, not just those who want to be understood.

 

6.    Choose those in your community who care about you as a person, not just those who care about you professionally.

 

7.    Choose those in your community who are willing to ask the tough questions, not just those who provide the easy answers.

 

8.    Choose those in your community who maintain confidentiality, not just those who are compelling in personality.

 

Every one of us needs a small number of people in our inner circle. People whom we can be honest with. People who will be honest with us. Because it’s just too easy to fall for our own fake news.

 

*The correct response to the opening quiz was the third headline. A teenage passenger in Edmonton, Canada, was allowed to board a flight after a pipe bomb found in his bag was confiscated by airport security. He claimed to have forgotten the device was in his bag after making it with a friend for fun some months before.

 

Question: What are you doing to assess reality correctly as a consumer of news and as a leader?

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