Over and over again I hear people say they wish their boss or supervisor was honest with them. If you go on the internet and query traits desired in a leader, honesty is usually number one or in the top five. IF it is so desired, then why do leaders have such a problem with honesty? I have never understood this. Honesty is the cornerstone to leadership and the foundation upon which everything else must be built. The first flag that comes to me when I witness a dishonest supervisor, is that if they are not honest in their professional life, then they are not honest in their personal life. You just cannot separate the two.
The problem with not being honest as a leader is the resultant demoralizing effect it has on the team. No one knows if they are getting the correct answer or if they are getting the political correct response. Leaders have to stand their ground, speak the truth, and stand by it. Communication is huge and I believe leaders can speak the truth without being insulting or demeaning. If you have what I call Sincerity of Heart and proceed from a position of assistance and not criticism, then honesty is not feared. In all the years I counseled other employees, they realized I was not being mean or malicious and was only trying to assist them. Why would I try to undermine or destroy the very team members I was hoping would be productive? It was their skill set I was trying to enhance and if pointing out an area where they could improve could assist, then it was my responsibility to do so. As a result, I often was visited by employees asking for my opinion on their performance. They knew my sole desire was to see them succeed and they knew I would be honest with them. Remember: the strength of the team is equal to the strength of the individual. They are directly related. Use what I call the ECHO Principle: Effective Communication Honestly Offered.
In our society today we have leaders who exhibit no honesty. Their opinions blow in all directions like an errant wind. Without honesty there is no trust and there is no building of a team. As a leader honesty is the first thing you have to establish and is constructed by your actions more than your words. Let your honest deeds be the guiding light to establish trust with those around you. You will be surprised at the result.