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Why Leaders Should Prioritize Honesty

Honesty is essential in all relationships; with your family, friends, spouse and colleagues. Even when the repercussions of honesty can be damaging, it’s always a better alternative to deceit. The reason being, the truth always comes out.  

For example, when a mistake is made at work, and a team member tries to cover it up or solve it without anyone knowing, the result is often worse than if they had just admitted to their fault.  

Honesty is also critical in client relationships. Withholding information or sugarcoating a situation to please your client, while not outright lying is still far from honest and won’t build long term, meaningful relationships. 

Why choose honesty? 

It builds trust. 

Honesty is a trickle-down effect; when teams are honest with one another, they become better problem solvers and decision makers. Leaders put greater trust and autonomy in team members who are honest, and in return, employees are more likely to reach out for help. 

The truth is inevitable.  

Honesty is always the best policy because the truth always comes out. With this in mind, always choose to be honest, even when the consequences may be unfavoring. 

Honesty holds people accountable to their actions.  

Individuals must be open to giving and receiving honesty, as well as taking responsibility for their reactions. 

It’s the right thing to do.  

Plain and simple, honesty is the ethical way to conduct business with your clients, peers, employees and so on. 

So, how do I choose honesty?  

Consider the time and place.  

Yes, honesty is the best policy, but you’ll be better received if you take note of when and where you’re doling it out.  

For example, giving constructive criticism to an employee during a team meeting may not be the most effective way to change their behavior. Regardless of your good intentions, singling out a team member among their peers will likely not inspire them to make a change. 

Acknowledge mistakes when you first notice them.  

Mistakes happen; don’t avoid them or try to cover them up to save your skin. Take control of the situation and react with integrity to solve, not hide your mistake. 

Own the truth.  

Even when it isn’t pretty, embrace honesty. Rather than dwelling on the situation, focus on your reaction. How an organization reacts to challenges is more important than what the challenge was, to begin with. 

Establish realistic expectations.  

If your firm is striving for perfection, employees likely fear mistakes and will do just about anything to cover their butts, should something arise.  

Perfection is an unrealistic goal and can influence team members to lie at the expense of avoiding conflict. Focus on building a culture that values support and trust, rather than perfection. 

Has dishonesty affected your team and workplace? Are you struggling to build strong teams needed to build and maintain a successful financial services firm? 

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Why Leaders Should Prioritize Honest
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Honesty is always the best policy, even when the consequences can be damaging. Learn how leaders can encourage and prioritize honesty to improve workplace relationships and performance.
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