No one is void of error. So you would think it would be more acceptable when we make mistakes right? It seems logical, but it’s certainly not that easy in real life. I bet you can turn on the television this very second and find one political party bashing the other for what they consider to be a mistake in judgment or policy. No one wants to admit anything, yet we know we have the right to make mistakes. But we also have the right to own up to those mistakes, learn from them and become an example for others by doing what’s right. These actions are much easier said than done.
Have the courage to say No. Have the courage to face the Truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity. ~ W. Clement Stone
1. Honesty takes courage, especially in business.
It takes a heck of a lot of courage to admit to making a mistake yet there are those who stand up and face the fury anyway. People respect and often follow the courageous, the fearless and the warriors who stand up for what is right even when it hurts. People want to work for a cause they can believe in. You cannot expect your team to believe in a cause if their leader doesn’t have the guts to put aside ego and fight for it themselves.
Honest people show true leadership qualities in their everyday life. These characteristics, no doubt are the makings of a good business person. It’s inevitable that there will be bad times, you’ll experience hardship and extreme challenges on the journey to success, but it is crucial to the success of any business that the foundation is built on solid and honest ground. Without it, you are limiting the longevity of your success and those who have blindly followed you.
If you want to test a man’s character, give him power. ~ Abraham Lincoln
2. An honest person does not allow circumstance or title’s to compromise integrity.
Those who remain truthful regardless of the outcome are often viewed as our greatest leaders, recognized as hero’s and admired for their good work.
Take a look at American leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Abraham Lincoln (“Honest Abe”). These leaders adopted honesty as a way of life. While serving, they courageously remained consistent in their beliefs of integrity and righteousness. Even through many tough times, they never backed down or compromised their integrity to please others. There was simply no question about who these men were and what they stood for. Today we hold their legacy’s in high regard, many of us hoping to impact the lives of others just as they have impacted ours. I believe this is still possible; even in the today’s society (see the Honest Model™).
3. Honest business owners have loyal customers.
No one wants to be in business with someone they can’t trust. Would you? Your customers/clients don’t want to get the runaround when they need a problem fixed. They don’t like to hear excuses as to why you have failed to deliver what they want. They want you to acknowledge the mistake, find out what it will take to fix it and actually fix it or come darn close to making it better. When you have loyal customers, you have not only developed a trust with them, they will refer those whom they also trust to you. Bottom line – if you can’t admit to a mistake and sacrifice your ego for the sake of the greater good, then you shouldn’t be in business.
4. Honesty requires a bravery only possessed by great leaders.
Not everyone is up for the challenge, nor are they equipped with the wisdom, discernment and compassion it takes to deliver such a service. You see, it is simply easier to lie. We go through life often “playing nice” to people because we don’t want to ruffle any feathers, hurt any ego’s or state the obvious. We don’t want to be the one that said it – whatever “it” may be. But a good leader doesn’t get caught up in the glamour of saving face. A good leader is empathetic, respectful and clear when delivering a much needed message. True leaders are often busy focusing on the greater good, solving problems, helping the masses and securing the safety and security of those who need it most. This is done without apology and is certainly not a job for the faint at heart.
Like dishonesty, honesty is a risk; however there is clear distinction between the two. While an honest person will take control of a situation; mentally preparing themselves for a reaction, be it good or bad, a dishonest person will leave a reaction to truth up to chance. Instead they choose to be unprepared to face the havoc likely forthcoming when they least expect it. Now I wouldn’t call that a guaranteed success strategy, would you?
When you are honest, you don’t have to worry about remembering what to cover up and how to keep things under wraps, leaving your business at risk. You can confidently continue to grow your business, building the culture of your organization to operate ethically and responsibly even when you are not there to see it.
When candid communication and trust are in the bones of your business, there is no such thing as competition.
Having experience and knowledge doesn’t make a great leader; these qualities make a great worker. A great leader is courageous; consistently displaying good character, morals and a genuine heart. Knowing the difference can make or break your legacy.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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**This post was originally shared on LinkedIn Pulse Leadership & Management channel. You can find it here.