Powerful leaders, mostly in opaque political systems where such leaders form a dominant or indeed are the powerful central authority and the individual at the top, are more likely to be betrayed by lies they are told by their most “trusted” aides and/or those they entrust with positions of “power” and “authority” largely out of fear and, obviously, to protect their positions; power in other words.
Therefore, the chink in the armor of such powerful leaders, are the lies from and told by their most trusted aides and/or those they choose to surround themselves with and entrust with positions of power and authority.
Longevity in power for most powerful leaders in such political systems, depends largely on, and therefore requires the leader to be vigilant to such power manipulation tactics and; most importantly, be[come] a human lie detector. This is because the motivation for those close to and certainly in the service of such leaders to tell [them] lies, to embellish untruths or to exaggerate little truths is rather enormous.
It begins with the analysis and assessment of their [underlying] interests, particularly economic and power ambitions. Equally, it also requires the critical assessment of their positions – proximity to the leader, the competitive power dynamics involved in gaining access to the leader – and the privileges such positions accord them; which will be a great motivation to bend truth, embellish lies, manipulate data or, worse, fabricate “facts” or boldly tell outright lies. Not to mention manipulating the leader into their own world, perspective and view point by and through their lies.
If telling uncomfortable but necessary truth to power – the powerful leader in this case – risks and therefore means loss of their positions, the power and privileges that come with it; those who otherwise are in positions to tell and should be telling the powerful leader truth, will hold [themselves] back, at best.
They will hold back from telling the powerful leader what is otherwise necessary truth because it’s uncomfortable, and the discomfort caused to the powerful leader will likely mean, and result in loss of their positions (jobs), power and privileges. It’s a power conundrum!
But they have to tell the powerful leader something. They cannot be around the powerful leader, in their positions, without telling or saying something to the powerful leader. That would raise suspicion to the powerful leader, especially that a majority of such leaders are pathologically suspicious and live in fear of everyone, moreover those they choose to surround themselves with. It would also more likely come across, to the leader, as if they aren’t doing their jobs.
It’s a sticky situation indeed that requires clever and creative interpersonal and power relations skills. It’s a psychological game that requires and involves the manipulation of the mind. Lies are effectively easy to tell and since this is a psychological operation, lies are effective tools of such psychological operations.
This dilemma, therefore, creates an environment in which those who surround and/or are in the service of the powerful leader are literally forced to lie to the powerful leader because it’s safe and protects their positions, power and privileges from such borrowed power positions.
They are forced to fabricate truths just about anything and everything that will sound good, acceptable and welcoming, heck, even sweet, to the ears of their powerful and pathologically suspicious leader who obviously might have demonstrated to his or her flunkies, a strong aversion for anything that might smell or sound like truth. In and of itself, a behaviour that encourages the advancement of lies.
They are even willing to engage, and more often than not, they do engage in smear campaigns against anyone or among themselves, as long as it sounds good to the ears of the powerful leader; or gets them the attention of and endears them to the powerful leader and protects their positions and privileges.
So, telling porkies for those around and surrounding the powerful leader becomes not only a defensive mechanism but also a means, arguably cheap nonetheless, to endear themselves to the powerful leader for more favours and privileges. It becomes a means to an end, a survival mechanism.
It also becomes a competitive race among those, particularly close to and around the powerful leader but also attractive to those outside the realms of and not part of the small clique of people around and undoubtedly deep in the pockets of the powerful leader, with ambitions to get close to or win favours from the powerful leader.
The danger with this, however, is that such powerful leaders are sustained by a regimen of lies. The more lies they unconsciously attract and encourage to be told; the more they are led down a slippery slope by lies from and told by their “trusted” aides and those they appoint to (entrust with) key positions of power, motivated by the desire to protect and further their own interests and privileges that come with such positions.
Conversely, the more truth, even the slightest portion of it, is told; the more threat it poses to such powerful leaders and becomes their greatest enemy because it shakes and threatens their power edifices built on a foundation of lies. Because they know that when truth comes out, it’s game over!
If telling lies is profitable, and if they are motivated by keeping their children in private schools, enjoy publicly funded private health care and medical trips abroad (for those where that is applicable), subsidised housing, government funded or subsidised car schemes, transportation and fuel allowances, they and their relatives having access to lucrative government contracts and a whole host of other generous benefits in kind, then by all means, they will gladly lie in broad daylight sans souci – with a straight face.