The Leadership Minute #2

Hi everyone and welcome back to the second installment of the leadership minute.  A quick and hopefully thought provoking weekly share on the topic of leadership.  The first four weeks we are hitting on what I call the 4 intangibles of Great Leaders. In follow up to intangible number one, humility, I am going to move on to the second key intangible     -> HONESTY

I heard a maxim once before. “You think you see through others so well, what makes you think they can’t see through you?”

To this I suggest… Half truths, are also half lies, and worse yet, being disingenuous is lying to yourself.

As a proponent and student of leadership, I have found that people want to engage with others that they see as honest. Further coming to find that honesty may be more critical than any of the other four intangibles. (Humility, Honesty, Integrity, Empathy)

In business we naturally gravitate toward meaningful partnerships and relationships with those that we can trust.  As we all know, trust can take a long time to build and it can be destroyed in moments.

At times in leadership positions, we may become aware of difficult situations in our businesses and it is instinctive to be dishonest.  Sometimes it may seem like the right thing to do.  The downside to that decision is if/when the truth is unveiled, regardless of the reason for your dishonesty, you still lied!

My approach to these situations is to be perfectly honest and brief.  It isn’t a lie or a half truth to say…

  • I’d prefer not to discuss this right now
  • I will provide you with the details that I can when I know more
  • Unfortunately, this is a personal matter

This seems logical right? It does to me too, maybe even simple, yet so many choose to lie and deceive anyway.  Why do that?

Bottom line: Don’t (I don’t see further explanation required, email me if you need more here)

In the foundation and continuation of your professional (and personal for that matter) relationships.  Make it a focus to be honest with those around you.  As Stephen M.R. Covey says in his book Speed of Trust, (Excellent Read) “building meaningful trust is based on two things, character and competence.”

If you are dishonest, or even if people see you that way, (being disingenuous) it will be almost impossible to gain that ever so important trust.

Simply put, without trust, you can never successfully lead.  Honesty will put you on the road to trust, and the expressway to great leadership.

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2 Responses to The Leadership Minute #2

  1. Tobey Deys says:

    I love your point that honesty doesn’t have to include TMI. Silence can be an answer. I think the second hardest phrase for many people to utter is ‘I don’t know’, yet it remains the best alternative to dissembling or feigning knowledge.

    I would certainly more readily trust a leader who said ‘I don’t know, but I’ll learn’ than one who was quick with a semi- or non-truth.

    Again – great post – thanks for getting me thinking, Daniel.

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