The Courage to Be True: A story of one manager’s journey to find a meaningful life


Mike has it all. He is the manager of a large company, is very successful and has a good life with a lovely family. And yet, something is missing. Despite all he has going for him, he doesn’t feel happy. Nor do his people appear very happy despite all his efforts to build a strong organisation that will ensure they will continue to have work and decent rewards for doing that work. He has an exemplary management team who are reliable and committed, but despite that, he is puzzled about why the same problems seem to keep reoccurring and why he has to be involved so often in resolving them. And, on top of that, there are increasing tensions with his own boss, Martha, and with the Corporate Operations Director, who wants more control in the business than Mike is allowing them.

The Courage to Be True is, as the author acknowledges in the book’s preface, not a ‘true story’, but Mike is ‘true’ in so far as he symbolises so many Mikes: committed leaders who have hit the brick wall of out-of-date management philosophies. Doing their best but without appropriate results or returns. While ostensibly a work of fiction, the Courage to Be True is interweaved with insightful messages, powerful models, interesting quotes and provocative questions.

This unique book is essential reading for anyone interested in culture change, leadership development, people management and organisational success. It is also for anyone who has ever asked themselves, ‘How can I be true to myself and my values and still deliver for my organisation?’

The book’s underlying message is something Smyth finds rooted in the great traditions, and something he draws from his own experience as a manager and leadership coach: Trust, let go, live and encourage life, and the truth will set you free.