There are a number of essential qualities that good leaders should possess, and among the top of those is honesty. In the midst of corporate corruption and increasingly deceptive practices, employees of all ages value honest, transparent leaders.

How important is it for our current and future workforce? A recent worldwide study  of Gen “Y” and Gen “Z”ers by Millennial Branding and Randstad reveals that just over half (52%) of Gen Y and Gen Z indicated that honesty is THE most important quality for good leaders.

The bottom line is that, whether it is business, politics, or any other leadership structure, people want to follow leaders that they can trust to be honest. There are a number of ways to earn that trust. Here are some leadership tips to gain the trust of those around you:

1. Earn the Trust of Others

When you first step into a leadership role, assume that people don’t completely trust you. And why should they? Trust requires displaying honesty and forthrightness in every situation. If you practice honesty in all of your interactions, it won’t take long for those around you to see that you are trustworthy.

2. Don’t Try to Cover Your Tracks

When dealing with mistakes, it can be very difficult to be honest, especially if the mistake is primarily yours. Leaders are tasked with trying new things and fine-tuning processes that could be improved. This trial-and-error approach will inevitably lead to a mistake at some point. And that’s okay. What isn’t okay is trying to cover your tracks, blame someone else, or deny that your idea isn’t working. Own up to your mistakes openly and your team will respect and appreciate you for it. You will also be setting a great example for others to step out and try new things, knowing that it is alright to make a mistake once in a while.

 3. Be Transparent

Clearly lay out what you would like to accomplish and how you and others can set out to accomplish the goals you have presented. If you have concerns, don’t keep them from your team until an issue boils over. People deserve to know what is going on. When you bottle up concerns or problems, whether it be with the organization as a whole or your department, you will lose the trust and loyalty of those around you when they are blindsided by a major problem like layoffs or other pitfalls that affect them on a large scale. Be candid, open, and even-keel when presenting an issue that your organization or team is facing. By doing this, you build trust and loyalty among those whom you are leading.

By practicing honest, transparent leadership, you are setting yourself up as a leader that others want to follow and enabling them to focus on what they need to achieve with confidence and less stress.

Are you looking to fine-tune your leadership skills? We offer organization leadership training as well as executive coaching and individual leadership development. Our flexible, individualized leadership development programs are designed to help you succeed no matter where you are. Contact Greg L. Thomas, our leadership and collaboration consultant, to learn how he can help you or your organization develop leadership to its fullest potential.

*Image © Stuart Miles /