Truth in Leadership

By Jim Inglis

It is not hard to find examples in business today where honesty is not regarded as the best policy. There is great peer pressure to go along with the corporate line, a line that may not be based on truth. For example, there may be pressure to endorse a promotional claim that is not completely true. There could also be pressure to omit relevant data from a report to make a point. So many people in business have Key Performance Indicators that impact their income that it can lead to temptation to manipulate facts in their favor.  We might rationalize these actions by saying, “Well, this is really not a big deal.”

We might all agree it is wrong to lie about big things like bank fraud or tax evasion, but is it okay to fudge on the small deals? Christ answers this in Luke 16:10-11 when he says, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest in little will also be dishonest with much.  So, if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with real riches?” Jesus is saying that there are not shades of honesty.

Being trustworthy is the mark of a good leader and it is noticed by subordinates, peers, and superiors. Whether these people agree with you or not, they will respect your honesty. This integrity must start internally with a commitment to truth. 

The Apostle James reminds us that we must be able to look in the mirror and be comfortable with what we see. James 1:23-25 says, “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks in the mirror, and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” Mark Twain stated this another way: “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” 

Being a person of integrity is not always easy. There are so many pressures in the business world to go with the flow and to not rock the boat. You may feel trapped in an uncomfortable situation. In these moments, remember the words of our Lord:  “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

Jim Inglis

Advisory board member – Palm Beach Atlantic University, Center for Biblical Leadership



Lifework is an eight-month leadership experience that runs from September to May. Each class examines the life of Jesus as the best example of a leader and influencer, as well as corporate leadership best practices.