Qualities of Leadership: Honesty

honessty-300x199There is a certain fundamental quality about leaders that is the foundation for all that leadership stands for.  Without this quality a leader has nothing — no respect from his team, no credibility with his peers, and no trust from his superiors.  What is this quality?  Honesty.

What is honesty — really?  dictionary.com gives some synonyms that are familiar:  fairness, uprightness, truthfulness, sincerity, and frankness.  It also gives (as the 3rd definition), the phrase that to me captures what this quality is for leaders:  freedom from deceit or fraud.  This definition of honesty also includes concepts like:

  • integrity: doing the right thing no matter what
  • ethical behavior: knowing the right thing to do
  • trustworthiness: following through with commitments
  • transparency: being open about what is being done and why

The reason this is a quality of leadership should be clear:  if people don’t see that you’re doing the right thing, they won’t follow your lead.  People want to follow someone that they can believe in;  someone who will do the right thing, won’t let them down, and will be straight with them — in short, someone they can trust.

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