Why Honest Leaders are a Rare Breed in Business
In this day and age, it is rare to find leaders who have a good combination of stellar leadership qualities and field expertise. The scale is usually tipped towards one side or the other, and this is a major reason why leaders have been the cause of many businesses' triumphs or failures. While there may be other factors that can affect the outcome, the management's decisions often play a critical part.
Even if this is the reality, there is one quality that may be of the greatest value regarding running a business: honesty. An honest leader can spell the difference between a company's downfall and success, and here's why:
Admitting mistakes and working around them
People tend to ignore their weaknesses because they fear the thought of being viewed as not good enough. For instance, when managers ask their team members questions like, "Is that the best you can do?" or "Did you try your hardest?" it may not be of ill intent. Nonetheless, the tone of those questions can have a negative psychological impact on the employee. They may start to feel self-critical and have lower confidence, and thus would lead them to fear failure.
There may be no easy way to admit your mistakes, but rest assured that doing so is an absolutely freeing experience. When leaders are not afraid to acknowledge what they did wrong, they earn the respect of their followers. Moreover, since the truth is out in the open, both sides can work together to form better and sincere solutions.
Furthermore, this strengthens the relationship and trust between employer and employee. Bob the BA once discussed the importance of trust during a business crisis, indicating that unfiltered communication between the management and the workers helps both sides handle the crisis easier.
Honesty leads to wisdom
Entrepreneur suggests that honesty is the starting block to attaining wisdom because staying true to yourself keeps you focused on your path. Remember that the value of integrity is not just about telling the truth; it is about being fully aware of one's strengths and weaknesses. From an entrepreneurial perspective, it is helpful to be openly conscious of where you stand as an employer. A great leader takes this knowledge and makes an effort to improve for the good of the business.
Of course, it also helps to ask feedback from peers and mentors. No one ever learns by themselves. It is true that you can gain helpful insights when you read business books or take courses, but hearing the opinions of other people gives you a deeper perspective on how to hone your behavior and skills. Menlo Coaching founder Alice Van Harten explains that only honesty can set a person on the right path, which is why it is important, to be frank and truthful, but of course only to the extent that should not make you seem arrogant and unjust. Objectivity is one key to providing the best service to your clients.
Such treatment is a refreshing and a much-needed act that more people should emulate. This is because integrity benefits both the messenger and the receiver, in the sense that they have a clear understanding of what they should do next. Too often, people have regrettable experiences because they refused to speak out at an earlier time.
Leaders who have mastered the value of honesty are guaranteed to last longer in the field of business because they gain a wealth of wisdom you can never obtain by cheating or lying your way to success.
Dishonesty can be costly
Corporate honesty is the best means to avoid reputational damage to the business and its management. This is because when the trust is broken, it can result in high litigation costs. CNBC reported that workplace crimes cost businesses $50 billion annually, and these crimes usually involve employee theft or fraud. In these cases, small businesses take the biggest hit. In fact, around 70% of check fraud happened at companies with fewer than 100 employees.
It may not be easy to spot these thieves in a workplace setting. This is why transparency in the workplace is of utmost importance. Naturally, this can only be established if the practice of honesty starts with the company's leader. In general, if a business has a healthy and happy work environment, the morale of the employees is heightened. In an ideal scenario, these workers will not find any reason to be dishonest in their work, since they are already content with what the company provides.
While honesty is a treasured value, not many people in the business world uphold it. That is why when you meet a leader who is honest to a fault, you know you have found yourself the right company to work for.
For more similar insights and other interesting posts about business, visit Bob the BA's archive and select from the full list of past articles.
Exclusively written for Bobtheba.com by JBusiness Notes