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How Can Someone Use Strategic Honesty to Become a Better Leader 

With the widespread use of the internet, it has perhaps become easier for consumers to do their due diligence on the products, services, and even the companies that sell them.

In EFS radio show #372, Inc. 5000 serial entrepreneur, TEDx speaker, business coach and special guest, Peter Kozodoy, and host Jo Dodds discuss how leaders and organisations can utilise honesty to achieve success and become better leaders.

Honesty is a virtue that relates to the four enablers of employee engagement, most especially organisational integrity; in which an organisation’s values are not just theoretical, but are practiced in reality.

In discussing honesty, Peter Kozodoy stated: “…one of the CEOs in my book makes a great point. It’s like if you’re flying in an aeroplane and the pilots come over the intercom and they say, ‘well folks, and we’ve never seen storm clouds like that before so please put your seatbelts on, not quite sure if we’re going to be able to land this bird but we’re gonna try’ – is it honest? Yeah, but is it helpful? Not really, right. You’re gonna cause panic and all sorts of other stuff.

What I did in the book… I stratified honesty into three layers. The first layer is getting honest about what I call the community. In other words what’s happening in the world, what’s happening in our industry.”

“Second level Jo is [being] honest with and about the others around us. Now, you know, as a personal leader in your own life that could be your friends, family etc. But in business we talk about your colleagues, your peers, your direct reports, your bosses, your vendors, your suppliers and so on …that brings us to the final level, which is getting honest with and about ourselves.”

“What I found Jo, that, the leaders and organisations that get honest on all three levels with community, others, and with and about themselves, currently, they’re able to capitalise on trends… to see things… as they really are. And those companies are the ones that end up absolutely dominating their industries…”

When asked by Jo how companies could bring about honesty within their organisations, Peter said: “I call this waterfall culture, and it works like this. In a waterfall culture, three management layer has the responsibility to give to the next layer down all the tools they need, the frameworks they need, the culture they need, the values they need to operate in accordance with what the organisation believes and most importantly, who the organisation is.”

A key tip that Peter offers up for young leaders trying to achieve honesty within their role, is to identify and adhere to their own core values. Such values can act as a moral compass in some instances, and may also be beneficial for individuals when connecting with organisations that share similar values.

Conclusively, one thing that remains clear from this discussion, is the universal applicability of honesty. It is something that can be used by CEO’s and frontline employees alike. With increasing transparency being sought out by consumers, and also volunteered by various organisations, honesty is a quality that can serve to strengthen an organisation. 

Author: Laurice Laird, Engage for Success


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