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Which is a more important leadership skill, honesty or loyalty?

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Two schools of thought surround which quality of the leader is more important to an organization: Honesty or loyalty. It is important to remember that honesty and loyalty are not mutually exclusive. Therefore the best leader any organization can ask for someone who is both honest and loyal. Unfortunately these individuals are few and far between.

Honesty is the ability to tell the truth no matter what the ramifications will be. They consist of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is the famous oath describes. The most difficult piece is the whole truth portion of this equation. This is particularly true when it means revealing personal shortcomings.

Loyalty has two facets. One is a commitment to long-term employment while the other is a commitment to the person’s leader. Loyalty is not just measured by seniority by whether or not the employee or leader could be depended on to provide support for the supervisor.

Yes, many employees do have both skills, especially those that are good leaders, but assuming that an individual only has one of these qualities it is far better to temporarily have someone with honesty than to have a long term that is dishonest.

©2014 Max Impact, used with permission.

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