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Is it really?

December 13, 2008

Honesty is the best policy. That’s the saying right?  I want to address the issue of honesty when it comes to leadership.

There is a disconnect between older leaders and young upcoming leaders when it comes to the issue of honesty. Let me explain what I mean for the next few moments.

The younger generation desires honesty. Through out the world young people are looking to follow someone who is completely honest about the lives they are living. Whether it is good or bad, moral or immoral, young people want to know that the leader they are following is being honest with them.

If a leader is open and honest about the vision they are trying to lead, and if they are open and honest about all the “angles” that are working behind the scenes, then the young people will follow whatever the vision happens to be.

However if for one moment or for one spilt second a young person feels as though the leader is not being honest with them, the young person will begin to stop following. Sometimes it is a lot worse, if a leader is not honest, they can lose their following in the snap of a finger.

Young upcoming leaders understand what their generation wants…honesty.

If you have something to say, lets start to dialogue about this. I would love to hear your thoughts.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 13, 2008 2:39 pm

    I think you’re right that the younger generation wants honesty. But I think the same is true for us “older” workers (I’m 39). I suspect younger folks are less tolerant of dishonesty than older people, and if that’s what you meant, then I agree.

    The bottom line is that you can’t expect anyone to follow you voluntarily, with enthusiasm like they did with Gandhi unless they believe you and believe in you.

  2. lizz permalink
    December 13, 2008 3:49 pm

    wait. So what is the disconnect? That older leaders don’t want to share the heart and soul, good or bad, of exactly what they are up to? Or that the younger generation is just too nosy and distrusting? Or maybe both? I think that if this is all true (and i agree) then the younger generation needs to be more trusting and the older generation needs to be more real. Speaking ad the former, it is difficult to trust someone when you doub their sincerity or if they come across as too perfect.

  3. December 13, 2008 4:13 pm

    I don’t think that honesty is the most accurate term to use. I think what you are talking about is transparency. I don’t find the older generation to be dishonest. I think that they are less transparent.

    It is actually possible to be transparent and yet dishonest. Some younger leaders can be that. It is possible to be dishonest with ourselves and yet totally transparent.

    Older leaders are not less honest than younger leaders. But they are often less transparent. Transparency is obviously valuable in leading next generation people. It is valuable in leading anyone for that matter. I totally agree with that.

    But transparency without integrity, or humility, or self-honesty will lead to hollow results in the long run.

    I think sometimes younger leaders can get a superiority complex because they hold opinions and are transparent about what they feel and believe. But often, I think we need more than just opinions. We need actions that prove character.

    Often the older generations gets less credit than they deserve. Many of them have a lifetime of action. They can point to results not just opinions. They struggle with being transparent and open.

    For me…I would rather follow a man of integrity and action who is less than transparent because he struggles to open up, than to follow a young leader who is open with their opinions and feelings, but hasn’t really done anything yet with their life.

    just my two cents.

    BTW – I would still consider myself a younger leader. But I have some heroes in my life who are less than transparent (because it makes the uncomfortable), and yet have a life that I truly want to follow.

    • Benjamin Davis permalink
      December 14, 2008 3:43 am

      Well said Jeff. I agree that maybe transparency is a better word. I also agree with you that younger leaders “can get a superiority complex,” when they are open about their opinion. Then would you say that people who are not as transparent look down on those who are? Do the non transparent leaders think that the younger more transparent generation is rude, arrogant, and lacking humility?

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