Honesty in Leadership

Many articles, books and journals have been written about Leadership. Individuals, Organizations and governments in different nations of the world have also seen the indispensable impact of Leadership to pursue the vision, empower, motivate and set the pace for the human capita to increase production which eventually leads to the growth and rise in the proceeds and gains.

From history till date, leaders have always been known to have unique mindset that make them influence others more than the way managers do. For instance, Managers think incrementally, whilst leaders think radically. “Managers do things right, while leaders do the right things.” This means that in an organization, managers do things by the book and ritualistically follow company policy; while leaders follow their own intuition, which may be more beneficial to the company. 

In terms of loyalty, it has become crystal clear that groups are more often loyal to a Leader than a Manager. This happens when the leader takes the blame when things are wrong, celebrating group achievements, even minor ones and giving credit where it is due. The power of vision which the Leader possesses has the potency to unite the people and influence them.

Leaders are not afraid of confrontation. They launch forth in full faith because success is certain. They have a strong determination and a never-give-up attitude. They know, show and go the way. 

In as much as we have myriads of teachings, seminars and academic program that focus on leadership, very few address the character of the leader. Vision, talents, dynamic oratory ability, intellectual superiority, influence and other abilities are brought to the limelight while character is given a little dais. 

I read a book titled, ‘Leadership Insight’ by Charles Gordon. In his book, he gave a lucid survey that was carried out on more than 15,000 people to know THE MOST ADMIRED CHARACTERISTICS IN LEADERS. This was the result:

Being Honest – 87%

Being Forward-looking – 71%

Being Inspirational – 68%

Being Competent – 58%

From this result, we would discover that honesty comes before vision (forward-looking), having a motivating personality (inspirational) or being proficient or skilled (competent). 

A Leader who downplays the value of moral conduct, honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, kindness, courtesy and other attributes that makes him to stand out as a man with strong values or convictions, he may just be heading for the rock in the school of leadership. 

When a leader is not honest in an organization, what do we see? The employees begin to lose faith and trust in his vision, direction and plans. Some of them quietly withdraw their selfless devotion and commitments little by little. At times, it destabilizes their strength to continue working with such a leader. Basketball coach and legend Rick Pitino captured the principle of honesty simply and profoundly: “Lying makes a problem part of the future; truth makes a problem part of the past.” 

All leaders must learn to be honest in all their transactions, day to day activities and connection within and out of work place. Being honest implies the absence of lying, dubious dealings, or theft. It also indicates positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness and straightforwardness. It has the potential of giving credibility, legitimacy to the leader. 

In an attempt to stress the value of honesty, William Shakespeare said, “No Legacy is so rich as Honesty.”

Leaders who want to progress in leadership and make impact must be honest. They must be ready to talk about their own mistakes before talking about anyone else`s. They must quickly respond to their personal failures and acknowledge them before other people will discover and reveal them. Sincerity in all dealings and personal integrity should guide them. 

I strongly believe that Honesty is the Best Leadership Policy.

 “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” – Thomas Jefferson
– Emmanuel Idiagi


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