“Brutal honesty is still the best policy.”

“To thine own self be true.”
Polonius in Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet.

People often appeal to this injunction when they feel defensive and want to say something smart and defend their less than ideal behavior. Sometimes it’s a way of saying that nothing matters more to how we should act than our own self-esteem. Too many times it appeals to our complacency, not our resilience. It swells our laziness, not stokes our resolve.

Too often it excuses having to consider and acknowledge our failings and biases. We may not say it, however, we believe we don’t have to consider others, but they must always consider us. If you’re living a lie, it’s impossible to live the Truth with others.

As a leader you’ll fail in many ways, but dishonest leaders fail in three ways for sure; your relationships, your job and your emotional health.

The first step in living in sync with yourself is living in relationship with your Creator. There are those who have some measure of success without that relationship, but could have so much more with it. No matter how great a leader you are in this life without this relationship, eternity for you is a total failure.

Great leaders with sustainable success determine early what principles, philosophies and world view will govern their actions on a daily basis. They have strong, non-compromising biblical morals as the foundation for leading without excuses.

Those who don’t go the way of 20th Century leaders that destroyed once great companies such as Enron, Global Crossing, Tyco and Arthur Anderson. Thousands of innocent lives were ruined because gifted leaders were fundamentally dishonest. Not only dishonest business leaders in the marketplace, but the Church world had her own high-profile failures.

Leading with strong biblical morals made America great. The present lack of them will certainly destroy her. Honest leaders, those who lead with integrity, are able to sleep better at night, live with less stress and demonstrate predictable behavior. Honest leaders are the steady force that people can count on to do right. Though many times difficult, honesty to them is not an option to consider, but a way of life.

What areas or issues are creating conflict for you today? Are you swayed by popular opinion and a polluted culture? Are your guiding principles and values under fire? Strong moral leaders without excuses confront these questions honestly before they wilt under pressure and begin compromising on the little things. This soon soon leads to a lifestyle of dishonesty.

Honesty is telling the truth, integrity is telling the truth every time. There is no excuse for leaders who are dishonest regardless of where you provide leadership. When you start making excuses for your dishonesty in the “little” things it won’t be long and your whole organization suffers because of your inability to tell the truth.

“The little foxes spoil the vine”
Song of Solomon 2:15

You become dishonest one grape at a time.