Why Honest Leaders Fall Short: The Crucial Role of Transparency

1-Minute Insight: Authentic Leadership

CW Fong
2 min readMay 24


In the realm of leadership, honesty is widely regarded as a vital quality. However, being honest alone is often insufficient for effective leadership. The missing piece of the puzzle lies in transparency. While honesty speaks to the truthfulness of leaders’ statements, transparency encompasses the act of sharing the complete truth. In this blog post, we will delve into why being honest is not enough and explore the importance of transparency in leadership.

Honesty and transparency are not synonymous. Honesty involves telling the truth, whereas transparency goes beyond that by providing the full and comprehensive truth. To illustrate, consider a business leader who honestly informs their team about having $300,000 in the bank. However, true transparency would entail revealing the additional information that they also have liabilities amounting to $500,000. Merely being honest without divulging the complete picture is, in essence, a form of dishonesty.

Honesty inherently carries the expectation that the entire truth will be revealed. When leaders selectively withhold information, they compromise their honesty and integrity. By withholding crucial details, leaders not only erode trust but also hinder the ability of their team to make informed decisions. To truly maintain the trust of their followers, leaders must be both honest and transparent.

A good leader understands the importance of being both honest and transparent. By embracing transparency, leaders establish a culture of openness, accountability, and shared responsibility. Transparent leaders communicate not only the successes but also the challenges and failures, allowing their team members to understand the full scope of the situation. This level of transparency builds trust, encourages collaboration, and fosters a sense of ownership within the team.

Leaders who combine honesty with transparency unlock a myriad of benefits. They create an environment that encourages open dialogue, constructive feedback, and innovative thinking. Transparent leaders empower their team members to contribute their ideas and insights, as they know that their perspectives are valued and respected. Through honest transparency, leaders can nurture a culture of growth, learning, and continuous improvement.

While honesty is a fundamental trait, it is not sufficient for effective leadership. Leaders must go beyond mere honesty and embrace transparency to provide their teams with the complete truth. By being honest and transparent, leaders foster trust, facilitate informed decision-making, and create an environment that promotes collaboration and innovation. It is through the combination of honesty and transparency that leaders can truly inspire and guide their teams towards success in an authentic and sustainable manner.



CW Fong

I blog therefore I am. Passionate about #Singapore, #Leadership, #PublicRelations, #SocialMedia, #Marketing, and #PersonalDevelopment. Above all, I do no evil


See more recommendations