The question frequently surfaces. What qualities make a good leader? Are there certain qualities that every leader should possess? I have seen lists of traits that are desirable, but I will put forth the assertion that honesty is one non-negotiable in a leader. Honesty inspires trust. People follow who they trust. People are more willing take risks when they trust. People become more engaged while they trust.
Honesty is at the core of sustainable leadership. And what about the crushing lack thereof? Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, Bernard Madoff. Jimmy Swaggart. Lance Armstrong. Betrayal of the public faith. Trust broken. Their once strong leadership quickly diminished with a lie.
John Maxwell wisely states that people buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. When honesty is blown it is difficult to recoup that buy-in. In today’s world, leadership is moving from the power of authority to the power of influence. Influence is the currency of leadership, no longer position or titles. Influence requires trust, with honesty the most basic coinage in the bank of trust.
Would you agree that honesty is the most basic trait of leadership?