“We owe honesty to everyone we meet.”
As I’m reflecting on the previous year and making plans for a fruitful new one, I find myself pondering the word honesty, and really thinking about what it means to be honest with someone.
I don’t think we hear it enough. Why is that?
Is it because we have been conditioned to lie, to bend the truth, or to be “creative” with our words?
Or, here’s a thought, is it us who are conditioning others to not be fully honest? Are we, as leaders, colleagues, parents or friends, so uncomfortable with the truth that we have made it difficult or impossible for others to offer it?
Think about that for a moment.
- Have we led others to believe that truth isn’t good enough “as is,” and that they should make it more interesting, believable or palatable?
- Have we told others that telling the truth is offensive (instead of modeling how to tell the truth respectfully)?
- Have we joked or referenced that truth hurts?
- Have we bitten the hand that offered truth?
I think the answers to those questions are, undoubtedly, yes. Thus, the failure to find the ever elusive “honesty” is, technically, our fault.
I don’t think the burden of consequence should be carried by the person offering truth. Instead, I think we, as leaders, carry the burden of accepting it.
Joel Casto, quoted above, has been my mentor for nearly 23 years. Throughout our relationship, he reminded me that I owe others gentle, courteous and/or professional honesty. Indeed, his wisdom is no less valuable today than it was 23 years ago. I respectfully add, I owe everyone acceptance when honesty is offered.
I believe that only when we commit to both offering and accepting honesty will we see more of it.
That being said, cheers to you and your team for a impactful, fruitful and honest new year.