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Honest Leadership

Honest leadership for better collaboration and improved outcomes

Employees want their leaders to be honest. It’s an essential piece of creating a trusting work environment. Having a work environment that you can trust also means it feels stable and safe which are priorities that people look for in long-term employment. No one wants to work in a place that feels dishonest or unstable.

Honesty is the core of Leadership (The HR Digest, 2021). Honesty is a quality that should be captured in a leadership assessment and addressed through a leadership development program.

How Honesty Impacts Your Bottom Line

When employees have faith in the integrity and honesty of their leaders, they thrive. They are more willing to whole-heartedly accept and work toward company goals. They feel safe in their confidence to share new ideas for change and development. An employee who trusts their leadership will also weather difficult times of change more readily. Honesty builds a more resilient workforce.

Honesty Is a Building Block of Trust

You won’t build trust with anyone overnight. It takes continual effort and vigilance to create trust between you and another person. You build a brick wall one brick at a time. And you build a trusting work environment with every act of honesty and integrity.   

How to earn that earn trust as a leader


Sharing Information

Part of your job is keeping your employees informed of the goings-on within the company. It’s vital that you share the negative and the positive information freely. Keeping employees in the dark will only contribute to them feeling more lost and alone.

Owning Your Mistakes

Success and achievement are not the only ways to build up someone’s confidence in you as their leader. We’re all human and we will all make mistakes. Being honest about those mistakes makes you more relatable. Failing to own your mistakes will make your direct reports lose faith in your leadership.

Seeking Input

Everyone looks to their leaders for direction, but only ever putting yourself in the driver’s seat means no one else learns how to drive. Seeking input from others shows you’re humble and builds the confidence of those around you. You can empower others and still be there to help navigate.  

Investing in Others

Have you ever worked under a leader who couldn’t remember your name? Or one who felt like they weren’t listening to you in meetings? You probably didn’t feel like you could trust that person or come to them with your problems at work. Leaders need to invest in their team members because seeds grow better when you tend to them.  

Perception Is Another Facet of Honesty

It is challenging for any of us to objectively assess how we are viewed by other people we interact with everyday. You might think you’re an honest leader, but others around you could have a different perspective. This is part of the reason it’s so crucial to perform regular leadership assessments with validated feedback from multiple people you work with.

Leadership assessments like this give prospective leaders an established framework to better understand how accurately you see yourself. It’s one of the few ways to view your traits and behaviors by comparing them to how others see you. Judging where your personal perception of yourself aligns or deviates from how others see you provides valuable insights.

Those insights can be the start of building your personal development plan.

An honest leader is one that is transparent and open with their team, always setting a good example and maintaining a high level of integrity. They create a safe and secure work environment, promote creativity and innovation, and understand the importance of informed decision-making. Most importantly, an honest leader promotes accountability and responsibility, inspiring their team to do the same.

What traits make a good leader? Read our post on 5 overall traits of effective leaders to find out.

Do you need help identifying and developing effective leadership behaviors?

 Envision Global Leadership’s ALII-Map Enterprise assessment is a research-based, statistically valid instrument focused on influence behaviors, including emotional intelligence. ​

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