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Leader Dishonesty!

How dishonest have we become as a people? How has dishonesty become a way of life in our nation. In the name of COVID-19 more and more funds are being wasted and stolen. More and more lives are lost to floods and evictions. And the excuse is COVID-19. We are caught up in on-going press conferences which are nothing more than PR stunts. We have been lied to over and over again and have become so insensitive to these lies!

They call themselves leaders but honestly, they espouse no leadership in anything they do. In an interview with a radio presenter on April 30th 2020, a well-known politician claimed he had settled the hospital bill of a DJ, whom he shot at point blank range by the way, was discharged. “He is just waiting to be taken home. The reason why he has not been taken home is because of the corona-virus situation,” said the politician.

Fortunately for all of us, the father to the injured DJ rejected the claims. He stated thus, “He is still in hospital and as we speak, I’m in the ward with him. The bill is still too high. The politician paid only Sh5 million of the Sh16 million bill.”

This is the kind of dishonesty that we are seeing in our nation today. Blatant, outright lies!

Leader dishonesty has become a pandemic and it has occasioned, induced and exacerbated an unethical national and global culture with low trust and low confidence. We lack a sense of directions and we seem to all be groping in the dark.

In our nation, leader dishonesty has gone unchecked and we can associate it with the serious social and economic cost we are currently encountering. My question to you Leaders is this? When did we become so insensitive? When did we start losing value for human life? When did we get comfortable with being lied to by our leaders and still proceed to applaud them for teaching maths online to various children?

Honesty, my friends, is the single most important “building block” in the leader-follower relationship. To many people, honesty is the same as sincerity, truthfulness, integrity, frankness, candour, and openness. Though some leaders don’t consciously realise it, honesty includes not only telling the truth, but also leaving the right impression. Albert Einstein said, “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.

We all don’t want to be lied to. We don’t want to be deceived. We do want to be told the truth. We do want a leader who knows, right from wrong. Yes, we need leaders, but we don’t want to be led or misled by someone who cheats and manipulates others in the process of attaining victory. We want our leaders to be honest, because their honesty is a reflection of our own honesty. After-all, we elected these people and put them in office.

Of all the qualities that people look for and admire in a leader, honesty is by far the most personal. It is the quality that can most enhance or most damage your own personal reputation. If you follow someone who’s universally viewed as being of impeccable character and strong integrity, then you are likely to be viewed the same way. But, if you willingly follow someone who’s considered dishonest, your own image is tarnished.

As a leader, you are called to be the change that you want to see. Let me let you in on a little secret. You will not become an honest and better leader by reading a book, listening to a speech or attending training. This doesn’t mean that you can’t gain knowledge, but you will not become a better leader until you put that knowledge into practice.

We have all read great books, heard great speeches, and attended great training and then returned to our old habits. Yes, it’s true: old habits die hard! This following is true for me:

Knowledge without application is called trivia. It’s great for game shows and board games, but useless in making you better. If we want to become better at anything, you have to apply the knowledge you’re gaining. You have to start with yourself.

My fellow leaders, it is time for us to change the narrative and put an end to dishonesty. Be honest. Tell the truth. Let people know where you stand. Use simple language. Call things out for what they are. Demonstrate integrity. Don’t manipulate people. Don’t distort facts. Don’t spin the truth. Don’t leave false impressions. Bottom line: Tell the truth, Leave the right Impression and be honest!

You may be asking, Njeri, where do I begin? My friend, transformation begins on the inside. You need someone to walk with you and hold you accountable for your actions. Someone to ask you the difficult questions about why you do the things that you do. Could it be that you are dishonest because of low self-esteem? Perhaps you have achieved rewards and status which in turn facilitate self-affirmation and likewise enhance self-esteem for you as a leader who is lacking it. Unbeknownst to yourself, you may have engaged in unethical behaviours, such as corruption, lying, stealing etc… to facilitate such achievement. Corruption, like other dishonest acts, is not only motivated by external benefits, but also by internal rewards whose root cause may be low self-esteem. A need to fill up the void (which seems to grow bigger by the day, the more you acquire/achieve) on the inside with extrinsic things and accolades.

I, Njeri, am not here to judge you but to call things out as I see them. To speak the truth in love so as to help you become the person God created you to be. A person who has drawn a line in the sand and decided they want to be better. I want to repent and start again. I want to be transformed by the renewal of my mind. It starts here my friends. With you reaching out to us. Ours is a safe haven where we believe in second chances.

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