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Rod Webb

Glasstap Limited

Director and Co-Founder

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The Qualities We Seek in Others – Research Findings


We recently carried out a survey to find out which qualities we value most in others. Given that our survey consisted of a single, open question, the results were quite incredible.

67 different qualities were suggested. Yet, out of those 67 words, two accounted for a massive 44% of responses. Those two words were honesty (22.8% of responses) and integrity (21.3% of responses). By comparison, the quality placed third, compassion, gained just 3.7% of responses. You can download the full report here.

It seems that when it comes to what we respect and admire in others, we’ve got a pretty collective view about the importance of honesty and of living according to a set of values and principles.

I was reflecting on all this the other day, and considering how important honesty is to any successful relationship, whether that’s at work or in your personal life. I wondered what stops people from always being honest, and it first struck me that fear is the greatest enemy of honesty.

When you think about it, lies are usually the result of the perpetrator’s fear of the consequences of the truth coming to light; whether that’s an indiscretion at work or in their personal lives, a weakness, vulnerability or error.

For example, someone who has made a mistake at work might try to hide the fact, or even lie about it, because they fear punishment – perhaps even losing their job. Someone else might do a ‘dodgy deal' in order to look ‘strong’, rather than paying the full price and appearing, in the distorted mirror they hold up to themselves, ‘weak’.

But then it occurred to me that fear isn’t the only enemy of honesty, and that honesty is not simply a lack of dishonesty. Honesty is much more than that. For me, it’s about a willingness and keenness to share feelings, ideas and thoughts; to give feedback – to express your views. In short, it’s about openness.

Which got me thinking – perhaps there’s another, silent, but equally poisonous enemy of honesty; and that's apathy.

When people become disengaged, or lose interest, or stop caring about the consequences of their own, or other people’s actions, then they become silent. Apathy is the silent enemy within every organisation and it’s one reason why employee engagement is so important.

When we engage our staff, we actually ensure that they care. They value what the organisation is striving to achieve and in return the organisation values their contribution – even when that contribution might be an opinion that differs from the manager’s own viewpoint.

As trainers and managers, it’s our responsibility to encourage honesty, and not just a lack of dishonesty, by engaging our team, encouraging a variety of perspectives and valuing and rewarding those who really care about the organisation’s values, and get involved.

Rod Webb

One Response

  1. Really interesting post Rob,

    Really interesting post Rob, thanks for sharing.

    In my experience, the qualities we value in our family and friends are no different to the qualities that we value in our colleagues or employees either – we're all just people.

    For me it always boils down to leadership. Those at the top of an organisation set the tone, whether that's engendering a culture of honesty and integrity, or ensuring a culture of apathy and disengagement does not take hold. If you can crack this then you are well on the way to building a successful organisation founded on strong values.

    We also carried out some research this year, but we looked at what characteristics were present amongst high-performing training providers. We found that it is often the same set of habits that exist within all highly successful organisations. Here is a link to an article I wrote on it in case you or any other readers would like to find out more; "Seven habits of highly successful training providers"

    Thanks again.

Author Profile Picture
Rod Webb

Director and Co-Founder

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