“Honesty is the first chapter in the book wisdom.” - Thomas Jefferson
Even when they feel they have something to lose good leaders tell the truth. Telling the truth is the mark of a leader’s character.
When it comes to telling the truth, here is a story: One morning at the start of a business day a supervisor was walking through the workplace and saw an employee sitting in the break room eating and talking on his phone. Upset and shocked that the employee was already taking a break at the start of the business day, the supervisor curiously asked the employee about his behavior. The supervisor patently listened to the employee’s explanation and then replied, “It is important for us to get our work day started on time. You do a great job of being on time to work, but we also need you to start working on time.”
Some may think the supervisor was a little harsh, but the supervisor actually told the truth. Sometimes the truth hurts, but never as much as being told a lie. At times, leaders avoid telling the truth to keep from hurting others feelings. However, when when we fail to tell someone the truth because you don’t want to hurt their feelings, you risk hurting them more.
It is a leaders responsibility to tell the truth. Would you want someone to tell you the truth or would you rather have someone lie to you?
The truth is a mirror that tells us who we are and the factuality of who others are. We cannot run or hide from this truth, but rather we should embrace the truth. Here are a few reasons why good leaders tell the truth.
1. Facilitate growth and develop. We speak the truth to ourselves and others to allow for the necessary corrections and adjustments to be made to ourselves and our organizations. The truth allows us to better ourselves. It’s hard to grow your life or an organization on lies. You can always build on truth, but you cannot build on anything on a lie.
2. Maintain Credibility. You are at risk of losing credibility when you fail to tell the truth. When you lose credibility it can take a long time to get it back, if you ever get it back. German born theoretical physicist Albert Einstein said, “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” Credibility is a key building block to your success as a leader. The Ancient Greek story teller Aesop said, “A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth.”
3. Live and lead in peace. Good leaders are real. They don’t attempt to be something or someone they are not, which allows them to live and lead in peace. When a leader is transparent about sharing their successes and struggles, you not only set yourself free but you set others free to do the same.
The process of telling the truth is important to a leader’s influence and an organization’s productivity. People will recognize your sincerity and authenticity when you tell the truth, which will cause people to buy into who you are and what you are doing. So I have four words for you: Always tell the truth.
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