The fifth-level of truth telling is “to tell the truth to everyone about everything.” For leaders, that’s a good place to begin.
So far in this series we’ve talked about: 1) what we should do as leaders (listen); 2) what we can expect to lose when we make mistakes (trust); and now, 3) what we need to be as a person.
The third biggest leadership mistake, highlighted by the Fault Lines Research Study, shows that lying, dishonesty, and a lack of integrity will doom our agenda.
Leadership Mistakes Always Seem to Return to the Same Place
If we’re not truthful with our staff, we’ll lose their loyalty and belief. Deceptions open up credibility gaps, which swallow the respect, support, and good feelings we need to get things done. Trust suffers. And, whenever trust suffers it’s most likely a permanent loss. At a minimum, it’s certainly a long way back to recover our credibility. Workers will have nagging doubts, regardless of how hard we work to be honest with them in the future.
Unethical behaviors, secrecy, favoritism, cover-ups, illegal acts, and blaming others all fall in the same category – erosion of morale, motivation, and job satisfaction which affects employee commitment, cooperation, and confidence in the leader. Productivity suffers.
Integrity issues are really just short cuts to long-term consequences.
Leaders Shouldn’t Promise What They Can’t Deliver
Social capital is the real currency of a leader – converting the faith of his/her followers into progress and achievements.
Occasionally, events arise that block our ability to deliver on a promise, and make us appear to be a liar. When a leader acts in a way that jeopardizes their integrity, their followers are hurt, alienated, and discouraged. If we know something we’ve done was wrong … we should make it right.
“Life isn’t about being right; life is about doing what is right.” And in Shakespeare’s words, “No legacy is so rich as Honesty.”
– Jerry Strom
For more information about our leadership and team development programs, please visit http://www.JerryStrom.com . Join the mailing list to receive new articles as they are published.
This article is based on the *’Fault Lines Study: The Biggest Mistakes a Leader Can Make,’ copyright 2013, by Jerry Strom & Company, Inc. Find the Research Abstract, and request our primary findings paper, ‘The Listening Leader,’ which includes ‘Listening Strategies for the Executive Suite,’ at http://www.jerrystrom.com/research/js_fault-lines.html .