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Honesty is a really simple thing…


After all, it simply means, as quoted in the Oxford English Dictionary, ‘of freedom from deceit or fraud’. None of us set out to be dishonest do we? We are brought up to be good and proper, to know the difference between right and wrong, and in the main I think we do a pretty good job of that.

But in our business worlds we seem to have a real blind spot. Being really honest means firstly being honest with ourselves and not just to others. Often we can want to hide some of the things we find less tasteful about ourselves as we seek to search relationships built on respect and credibility, as if in some way to admit we have flaws shows a sign of weakness.

The beginning of all knowledge is self awareness. So if we can feel truly comfortable with our honesty about ourselves we can start to build healthy strategies for managing the areas that might let us down when leading others and driving our business forward. We can harness our strengths in an appropriate way and as a result deepen our authenticity.

“Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves but deal in our privacy with the last honesty and truth” – Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803 – 1882.

We also know of course, as transformational leaders of the future, that ‘we will never change the world unless we first change ourselves’ (Leo Tolstoy).

Our deepening self awareness ensures that we have to be honest – to identify and celebrate the part of us that is a force for good, and to accept that we have weaknesses so that others can support us in overcoming these to become more effective leaders.

Honesty and personal integrity build trust – it becomes a starting point for leading from within and being authentic, and I truly believe it is where all true leadership starts. So I finish with a quote from a great leader, George Washington, who said “I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man”.

Cilla McKay, Director, Development Services

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