It it should be common-sense, and go without saying, that for all managers and leaders to be successful they must be honest; however it needs to be said over and over. You see it all to often in business, politics and even in religion where great organizations and great leaders are completely derailed and ultimately the leader and/or the organization fail. I could list numerous occurrences, like this, where honesty-or the lack of it- is to blame for an organization’s or leader’s demise. Instead, It is more beneficial for all to focus on optimistic thoughts, like how honesty can change an organization and empower leaders to be more successful.
Honest leaders reduce uncertainty. Leaders who constantly set expectations, make these expectations known and hold people accountable to these expectations have teams that know exactly what to do. Providing honest and accurate information on the status of the organization, or a project, alleviates the potential for confusion on high performing teams. Leaders need to be transparent and honest about the future, even if the prognostication doesn’t look too bright.
Honest leaders reduce turnover. The cost of having a position, or a team, that is a “revolving door” is astronomical. High turnover rates not only cost the organization a ton of money, they also reduce the perception of both the leader and the department’s competency. Being honest and upfront about work environment and expectations can create a stable environment and ultimately lead to a reduction in turnover. Having a department culture of dishonesty is also a quick way to increase turnover. No one wants to work in that environment.
Honest leaders improve ideas. I’m not sure if you have ever worked in an organization where a leader keeps around one, or several “yes men” but I have and it isn’t a pleasant experience, especially if the organization or the ideas need to change. It’s incredibly important, especially for CIOs, CTOs and technology managers to be honest, even if it isn’t in agreement, when it comes to the technical execution of the organization’s mission. Be honest, don’t be a “yes man.” Also, don’t be a jerk.
Honest business practices and honest leadership inspire staff and customers, alike, with respect to company values and culture. The “Golden Rule” is incredibly important for all leaders, if you want your employees to be honest with you you, you must be completely honest with them.
Each Friday, for the next several weeks, a new post will be released with another key characteristic of what it takes to be successful in technology leadership. These posts are in no particular order; I’d love for you to provide feedback and let me know if you think I’m missing something, or if you’d like to see a particular trait addressed please feel free to email me, or leave a comment. I’m hoping this will be a useful dialogue about what is necessary to become a successful technology leader.