Interpersonal Leadership: Trust-Building
“Honesty: The Leader's Credibility Test ” (SL#77)
by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., adapted from SkillTrack® Vol. 7.2 - Trust-Building

Honesty: Honesty, as a basic characteristic of leadership, surprisingly is high on the list of expectations of people about their leaders. “Honesty as the leader’s credibility test” is the claim of researchers and authorities; it is one of small cluster of traits essential for trust-building. Honesty does not have to do only with telling the truth; it also has to do with how we live, what do, and how we treat others.

This is not new; it has long been true. What was meant by the old saying of one person about another: “His word is his bond”? It means you can count on him to keep his promise; she will speak only the truth about someone; he is believable; she will do what she says. And what if today others said of you: “This person practices honesty in dealings with other people passing the honesty test, which is, ‘Can I trust this person?’”

1a: free from fraud or deception: LEGITIMATE, TRUTHFUL, honest plea; 1b:GENUINE, REAL; 1c: HUMBLE, PLAIN; 2a: REPUTABLE, RESPECTABLE; 2B: GOOD, WORTHY; 3: CREDITABLE, PRAISEWORTHY; 4A: marked by integrity; 4b: marked by free, forthright, and sincere expression: FRANK, INNOCENT, SIMPLE. Synonym: see UPRIGHT --Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary

1. Honesty and Credibility

2. The Scripture Teaches Honesty

3. Practicing Honesty in Trust-Building

Think about many ordinary things we do every day that express the level of our honesty. Reflect on your leadership practices. Trust-building through honesty begins with small things, are cumulative overtime, and have an impact on the larger things of your life. Just so, distrust and emotional isolation is built by dishonesty. In all the dimensions of your leadership and within the life of the congregation, honesty is the credibility test. Assess your practices and choose your efforts at improvement. As you review these suggestions, keep in mind the channels of flowing water through your life may be wide open; others may need you to clear out the obstructions:

Closing Reflection:

“Another sign of moral purpose in a leader is truth. The degree of truth in our lives and organizations critically affects our present and future relationships.” --Max DePree in Focus, p. 95

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© 2007; hosted and copyrighted by Lloyd Elder & Associates, Inc.
For full citation of referenced works, see Bibliography/Links at
Adapted by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., Founding Director, Moench Center for Church Leadership