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May 14 2012

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How To Lose The Trust Of Those You Lead

Honesty gives you strength.  When you are honest you have complete knowledge that everything you said was the truth.  You can have a clear mind and feel confident that nothing you said or did will come back to haunt you.

When you are honest in every way, you are able to enjoy peace of mind and maintain self-respect.  You build strength of character, which allows you to be of service to others.  You are trustworthy in the eyes of those around you. ~Unknown Author

On the other hand, if you are dishonest in your words or actions, you will hurt yourself or those around you.  You will lose the trust of your closest associates, and that trust will be hard if not impossible to regain.

Some forms of dishonesty include lying, cheating, and stealing.  Three major consequences that come as a result of dishonesty are:

1.  Loss of Self-worth

When you are dishonest, you will feel a loss in your sense of self-worth.  When you are dishonest, you are telling yourself and the world that you are not good enough to do things the honest way.  With each choice you make, you know what is honest and what is not.  When you make dishonest choices, you are hurting yourself as well as others.  Because you know yourself, you know the truth about everything you say and do.  With each time you say something that is not true, you begin to lose your feelings of self-worth.

2.  Loss of Trust

When you are dishonest, you begin to lose trust in yourself.  At the same time, others will begin to lose trust in you if you are caught.  Each time you make a choice, you have to decide if you are going to be honest or dishonest and whichever road you chose will have specific consequences.  When you choose the honest road, the choices may not always be easy, but they will help you to be a much stronger person.  When you make honest choices, you will develop a greater trust in your ability to make honest choices.

3.  Loss of Integrity

Your integrity is the most valuable thing you own.  When you are dishonest, you lose your integrity.  One of my favorite old sayings is, “My word is my bond.”  Even though the honest choices are not always the easiest and sometimes bring with them mockery, when you are honest you can hold your head high.  Honesty allows you to maintain your integrity.

In this day and age, honesty is so important.  Once you are dishonest, it is much easier to be dishonest again.  As a leader, you must be honest at all times.  When you are dishonest, you lose the trust of those you lead very quickly.  As you are dishonest, you will eventually forfeit your ability to lead because your followers will have no desire to follow you.

Although I only mentioned three effects of being dishonest, there are many other side effects.  What effects have you seen from people being dishonest?  Are you honest as a leader?  Do you tell the truth even when it is hard or unpopular?  Do you enforce honesty in your followers by holding them accountable for what they say and do?  Please share your thoughts and comments in the comments section below!

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  • Joe

    Brandon, thanks for writing on this subject. For I have recently fallen victim of this. What is worse is when a leader wields his authority and knowledge of the “system” to pass all of his leader mistakes onto subordinates. I have come to the realization that performance in subordinates can also be a good “failure of leadership” indicator.

    • http://www.leadershipdoneright.com Brandon W. Jones

      Joe, I am sorry that you had to learn about this through personal experience. That is no fun. You are completely right about that type of treatment being directly related to failed leadership. Leaders should train their employees adequately and give them the proper resources so they can be successful. It rarely happens that an employee fails because they just did something wrong on purpose. Most of the time it is the leader’s fault.

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