Honesty and Leadership


Of all the qualities that people look for and admire in a leader, honesty is by far the most personal. It’s the quality that can most enhance or damage your own reputation.

Honesty is the single most important “building block” in the leader-follower relationship.  To many people, honesty is the same as sincerity, truthfulness, integrity, frankness, candor, and openness.  Though some leaders don’t consciously realize it, honesty includes not only telling the truth, but also leaving the right impression.  Albert Einstein said, “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.”

It’s clear that if people are willing to follow you—whether into battle or into the boardroom, the front office or the front lines—they first want to assure themselves that you are worthy of their trust.  They want to know that you are truthful, ethical, and principled.  No matter the setting, everyone wants to be fully confident in their leaders, and to be fully confident they have to believe that their leaders are people of strong character and solid integrity.

We—all of us—don’t want to be lied to.  We don’t want to be deceived.  We do want to be told the truth.  We do want a leader who knows, right from wrong.  Yes, we want our team to win, but we don’t want to be led—or misled—by someone who cheats in the process of attaining victory.  We want our leaders to be honest, because their honesty is a reflection upon our own honesty.

Of all the qualities that people look for and admire in a leader, honesty is by far the most personal.  It’s the quality that can most enhance or most damage your own personal reputations.  If we follow someone who’s universally viewed as being of impeccable character and strong integrity, then we’re likely to be viewed the same way.  But, if we willingly follow someone who’s considered dishonest, our own images are tarnished.

This is a constant, hear me, hear me—whether correspondent, journalist, newscaster, photographer, salesperson, physician, priest, preacher, military officer, soldier, sailor, airman, marine, politician, or civic leader; honesty is what is most important.  Honesty is the most important “building block” in the leader-follower relationship.

Be Honest.  Tell the Truth.  Let people know where you stand.  Use simple language.  Call things what they are.  Demonstrate integrity.  Don’t manipulate people.  Don’t distort facts.  Don’t spin the truth.  Don’t leave false impressions.  Bottom Line: Tell The Truth, Leave The Right Impression, And Be Honest!

Listen to the words of Proverbs 12:17 (ESV): “Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit.”  Take comfort in knowing that our Savior and our Lord, Jesus Christ, the greatest Leader in history—He is the Truth.  Follow Him!

Suggested Prayer: “Heavenly Father, thank You for the perfect leadership model, Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.  In Him, I can know Truth.  In Him, I can understand and pursue honesty and integrity, in all that I do and say.  I pray for forgiveness for any dishonest words and dishonest, false impressions that I have spoken or communicated in any way.  I pray for Your help today and forever in all things.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Savior and my Lord.  Amen.”

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