So, is honesty the best policy? In short, the answer to that question is yes. Of course, there will always be circumstantial nuances surrounding your decision about how and when to be honest, as well as how much of your truth to share. However, as a general guideline, honesty is absolutely the best policy… especially when it comes to being honest with yourself… and your team. Let’s explore that thought a little more deeply, shall we?
Honesty is not only a virtue, but it’s a habit. A lifestyle, just like any other habit or recurring action is. Also just like any other habit, it has an opposite or reverse side of itself – the “negative” opposing habit you may fall into. Now, I don’t know what the opposite of being a liar is (is being a “truther” a thing?), but maybe we can just make it a point to do our best to be honest ;).
Now, are there ever times when honesty may not be your best bet? Typically speaking, being honest about what’s happening is more beneficial in the long run than not being honest. However, there are a few ways in which you can make sure you’re maintaining your integrity while also not shying away from tough leadership decisions, messages, and so on.
3 Ways to Be Honest and Tactful
Honesty is important because it builds trust between you and your team. However, just spewing out whatever pops into your head is not what we mean by being honest. Rather, to build and maintain trust and rapport with your team while being honest, some of the following ideas might help.
1. Take Time to Step Back and Think.
This is especially helpful if you have something challenging to talk about and/or solve. The challenging times are when you, as a mindful leader, need to take additional care to be at your absolute best so that you can help your team through the aspects of these challenges they may not know how to deal with. Taking a day or three to figure out your wording in order to maintain the best possible relationship with your team is a small price to pay for doing it right the first time.
When you meditate regularly, it is much easier to widen the gap between data coming in and reactions going out. That space is meant to give you the time and reflection necessary to go from reacting to responding on purpose. Remember… you don’t always have to respond right away. You can also take some time to think.
3. Don’t Tiptoe Around the Issue.
If you’ve thought about things all you can and planned your wording all you can, then don’t procrastinate. You should go ahead and address the issue at hand as soon as you’re ready but before you have a chance to talk yourself into waiting longer ;). Analysis paralysis is avoidable if you know what you’re dealing with, so keep that in mind moving forward.
The Benefits of Honest Leadership
· Mutual Respect – leadership and employees respect each other and therefore take each other’s ideas more seriously.
· Crisis Prevention – if everyone is on the same page to begin with, challenging times are much easier to handle.
· Employee Encouragement – if you are honest about any challenges that come up and have enough confidence in your team to allow them to solve their own problems, not only will your team be more up to the task, but they will find ways to solve problems without having to ask for help if you allow them to.
As you can probably tell, honesty, more often than not, is definitely the best policy. Even though it may not always be the easiest way to handle things, it’s much easier than trying to keep track of lies or omissions of truth and which version of your story you told to which person. To keep things simple, maintain your integrity, and prevent the messes lies can create, it’s much easier to be honest to begin with.
As always, thanks for joining us here on the Mindful Leader Blog! Continue leading mindfully, and if you’d like to learn more about the International Mindfulness Federation and the Mindfulness Movement, please visit: