Last post I discussed that the leader has to understand who he or she is in Christ. Some of you may not be Christian and you will have to reconcile that with God. That is a choice you get to freely make. To me, you may be a good leader, but you can’t be the best you can be without God. In a later post I will discuss how we accept or grow in our faith and how that makes us a better leader.
Today I want to talk about truth and communication as leaders. At times, if we are honest, we have all been confronted with situations where it would be easier to avoid ridicule and perhaps discharge or demotion by committing a sin of commission or a sin of omission. We can cover our mistakes or embarrassment by an out-right lie or by failing to disclose all of the truth. In his writing The Functions of the Executives, Chester Barnard states, “the problem of the establishment and maintenance of the system of communication, that is, the primary task of the executive organization (Barnard, 1938). That communication can be lateral or level up or level down, but if we accept that a key part of leadership is communication, we have to accept truth as the leading precept.
Can a leader be fully truthful without God? That is a key question that I used to struggle to answer. The more I study history and theory, I am convinced that no, we cannot be wholly truthful without God. Even with God, if we are honest, some (myself included) have been enticed to indulge in errors of commission or omission. Rodin in his book The Steward Leader states, ” I am surprised at the number of authors who see personal transformation as an add-on rather than the primary distinction of a Godly leader” (Rodin, 2010, p. 83). This conversion has to come first and the actions of the leader will follow.
An example of a truthful leader regardless of result or personal danger is Daniel. On more than one occasion Daniel had to tell his sequence of bosses, Kings Nebuchadnezzar, Darius and Belshazzar good news and bad news. He delivered both with equal honesty. Further, a part of Daniel’s honesty was his integrity in front of others or in private. He told the King honestly that he would never compromise his beliefs and went on to put that promise in to action. In tough times he was promoted and at other times persecuted by being thrown in a den of lions. Review the book of Daniel, specifically chapters 1-6. But in the end, God honored his truthfulness and uncompromising actions.
So truth is a guiding principle that all of us as leaders must maintain in all circumstances.
Barnard, C.I. (1938). The function of the executive. Harvard University Press.
Rodin, R. S. (2010). The Steward Leader: Transforming People, Organizations and Communities. InterVarsity Press