Honest Hearts Produce Honest Leaders

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There are lots of ways to lead and lots of contexts for showing leadership. Leadership is as individual as the people who practice it; it doesn’t depend on your age, sex, education, or culture.

But there’s one thing that all true leaders share: The best Leaders are honest and that honesty begins with, and about, themselves. They understand who they are and who they are not.

It takes an honest heart to be truthful, and it takes an open mind to be straightforward.

Honesty is more complex than just not lying—it’s a commitment to knowing and understanding the truth, speaking the truth, and leading from the truth.

To be an honest leader takes strength and courage. Here’s how to make sure your own leadership reflects your personal honesty:

Look within. The best leaders don’t strive for perfection but for growth and progress. By being truthful with yourself, you have a realistic sense of where you are and where you want to be. Then share that same perspective with those around you.

Be sincerely responsible. Hold yourself responsible and accountable for who you are and what you do. Don’t allow yourself to be careless with the truth, even in small matters. That way you can know (and demonstrate) that you are worthy to be trusted in the big matters.

Be led by your values. To gain a reputation of being authentic and honest, always lead with your values. When you do, people understand that your words have meaning and integrity.

Honesty is the cornerstone of your leadership. Tend to it carefully, because respect is earned. Trust is gained. Loyalty is returned and honesty is essential.

Lead From Within: Honest leaders are memorable. They keep check on themselves, demonstrate sincerity, lead by their values, and are ruled by their principles.



N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Sunil Jogdeo

    13. Jan, 2015

    Hello, hats up Lolly to your consistency in writing simple and easy to comprehend capsules (doses !). It is a tough task to write so much on leadership with such a frequency and to pass on something new to the readers. `Honesty` is a great value of human life, blurred by commercial priorities as seen today. However, there are very few honest leaders in the world as true honesty looks very difficult to practice. Mostly it remains with spiritual leadership and looks completely missing in political leaderships. Thank you very much for this one.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Billy L Wade

    13. Jan, 2015

    I loved what you shared on how trust is gained and loyalty is returned. I seen people demand blind loyalty absent of respect and trust, without these how true can loyalty be. Thank for this wonderful article on leadership.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Willeke

    13. Jan, 2015

    Wonderful article Lolly. Personal growth through awareness leads to more honesty and sincerity. Arrest leads to ignorance. I believe that leaders who choose honesty as the cornerstone of their leadership to grow in their humanity and that radiate their staff. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply to this comment
  4. John Richard Bell

    13. Jan, 2015

    A simple, meaningful and inspirational message to begin the new year. Honor your values, your authenticity and your responsibilities. Just do it.

    Reply to this comment
  5. LaRae Quy

    13. Jan, 2015

    I love this sentence, Lolly:

    “It takes an honest heart to be truthful, and it takes an open mind to be straightforward.”

    Honest hearts and open minds so seem to go together, don’t they? I’m not sure a person can one without the other…great article 🙂

    Reply to this comment
  6. Ed Fayle

    14. Jan, 2015

    My boss emailed a letter to me with unfair criticisms regarding my job performance, and she “copied” (cc’d) her superior (of course, mine too) and another colleague involved in the dispute. My boss also “blind copied” the email to three other colleagues in our department. There were several other colleagues in our department who did not receive “blind copies.” I learned this fact only when I went to “reply all” to the email, and saw the “blind copies” listed. I would describe this behavior as dishonest leadership. Trust between us is out the window, and I have no confidence in her leadership at this point. (There’s more history that I will spare you.) Any thoughts on such secretive behavior in the workplace, and any suggestions for how to proceed on my end?

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      14. Jan, 2015


      Personally I would NOT reply to the email. I would walk myself into my boss’s office and have a face to face honest to heart conversation.

      What your boss did is shy of being unethical. Sorry you had to experience it. Chalk this experience up as a learning lesson of what not to do when you become the boss.


      Reply to this comment
      • David Tumbarello

        01. Feb, 2015

        Face to face. Absolutely the only way to go in terms of confrontation. And it should have started with your boss doing that in the first place!

        Reply to this comment
  7. Panteli Tritchew

    14. Jan, 2015

    “The best Leaders are honest and that honesty begins with, and about, themselves. They understand who they are and who they are not.”

    This sentence captures the essence of leadership beautifully, Lolly. Leadership requires courage, and so does knowing ourselves.
    The oracle’s “Know Thyself” was an invitation…and a challenge. Not for the faint of heart. Missing you!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      14. Jan, 2015

      I simply must say it…

      I miss you more.

      Thanks for your comments, engagement and feedback it means the world to me.


      Reply to this comment
  8. Larry

    24. Jan, 2015

    “Be sincerely responsible”.. I absolutely love this. This is seemingly a little or perhaps not as important piece to many. However, it strikes to the core of who we are…..
    Thanks for the reminder…

    Reply to this comment
  9. David Tumbarello

    01. Feb, 2015

    I like how the words “leadership” and “courage” are right next to each other in this post. May we all have the courage to be leaders and speak from our hearts.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Joshua Abramson

    26. Feb, 2015

    Great post, right up my alley.

    I’m an expert in I Love You as a core value for businesses and why it matters; I specialize in culture change to create heart-based companies. Not from a touchy-feely perspective, but in terms of workability, flow and differentiation in the marketplace.

    In moving forward, I believe that it’s the heart-based companies that will thrive and survive.

    Creating real value and shareholder value are not mutually exclusive. The most robust companies of the 21st century will do both.

    I Love You!

    Reply to this comment
  11. Amar

    28. Mar, 2015

    Honesty is truly the best policy. Being honest you don’t need to lie to yourself & others and in that process you realize your own potential & self worth which ultimately reflect in others eyes which actually give us an opportunity to improve positively without giving any excuses. Being honest may be the process where we acquire all the good things and promote the best as Lolly Daskal is doing 🙂 Love reading your posts, it always motivate me very positively. Nice article!

    Reply to this comment
  12. Juan Sagaro

    24. Jul, 2015

    Lolly I have been following you for 4 weeks and I have enjoyed and learned so much from your words. Your gift to us is like Xmas daily. I think that by reading your followers they are thirsty of wanting to learn more. I can only say that all my years in the business world when you have lead others by teaching with kindness, honesty, and leading by example they will follow you to the end of the earth. You are blessed.
    Thank you

    Reply to this comment
  13. Anil Rathore

    26. Nov, 2015

    Dear Ms Lolly
    You have covered the issue aptly on Leadership. The Issue that you have highlighted here on Honesty as one of the key traits of a Leader. But I see this trait largely non existent in the leader of today? I know I may be sounding a bit too strong or for that matter somewhat weird? But that has been my experience of 30 years of professional life. I have all the while seen leaders at every stage very selfish & self centered.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Sam

    16. May, 2016

    Great Post Lolly!
    Your post is truly inspiring..you are true leader..I feel that leadership plays integral part of any company or organisation. You have been motivating many leaders to be successful leaders ..Great Job Lolly..

    Reply to this comment

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