Honesty in Leadership

Kamal Raj Guptha R

Engineering Manager at Jeavio


'I am not sure', 'I don't know', 'Sorry', 'I guess', 'Am I thinking right here?', 'Did I confuse you by my explanation?' - Many Leaders think they shouldn't use such phrases in front of their team. I beg to differ. Read this fully to know when using such phrases reveals a fault line.

I have learnt through personal practical experience & observation of other Leaders that if these phrases are the truth and one shies away from using it in front of their team, then they are not being transparent or honest. One can't build trust if they are not transparent & honest.

Being fake cocky might give few brownie points in the short run but will fail in the long run. Always. Guaranteed.

People can clearly tell if one is faking it. I vehemently oppose the idiom "fake it till you make it". Possibly an unpopular opinion, but in a contest between faking and being transparent, the latter wins in the long run - hands down every single time.

You messed up. You tell "Sorry".

You are guessing. You tell "I guess".

You are not sure. You tell "I am not sure".

This builds trust. Vulnerability based trust. This is powerful for Leaders.


If you keep messing up the same thing, then that reveals a fault line in you that you are not putting enough efforts to learn & improve.

If you are guessing on the same topic umpteen times, then that reveals a fault line.

If you are not sure on the same decision always, then that reveals a fault line.

Expose your vulnerability to your team BUT put in crazy efforts to improve & grow.

When your team sees that you are genuinely expending efforts to become better and if you still mess up (once in a while) and ask "Sorry", they will still trust you & respect you. People understand that you are going through your learning curve. No one is expecting perfection from a Leader.

Also, if you are not able to improve on few things in-spite of trying hard, they will still accept you as a Leader. But this has to be really few things amidst the many things that you are great at. For such things, you could delegate it by telling that it isn't your forte.

Leadership means doing so many things right,

but if you are not doing few things right,

then faking isn't the solution.

Learning & Growing is. At the least, trying is.

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Kamal Raj Guptha R

Engineering Manager at Jeavio

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