From childhood, this proverb has been drilled into us – “Honesty is the best policy.” And so, we learned early on that it’s never good to lie.
But honesty is more than just not telling lies. It’s about keeping it real and being an authentic person.
In a world where sweet-talking and faking it has become the norm, an honest person comes as a breath of fresh air. It’s so refreshing to talk to someone and just know that you don’t have to deal with any BS.
How do honest people do it? Well, they do have traits that help them be genuine and straightforward.
In this article, we’re going to check out nine traits that show if someone really puts honesty first. It’s not just about saying what’s on their mind, but how they do it with kindness and respect.
Let’s dive in!
1) They’re authentic
Honesty and authenticity go hand in hand.
People who value honesty display a level of genuineness that is palpable. They don’t put on a facade or adapt their personality to suit different scenarios or people.
They are real, consistent, and true to themselves at all times.
This doesn’t mean they are blunt or tactless. On the contrary, they know how to communicate their truth in a respectful and considerate manner.
They understand that honesty isn’t just about speaking the truth, but also about presenting themselves truthfully.
So if you see someone who is consistent in their words and actions, chances are, they place a high value on honesty.
2) They admit their mistakes
Owning up to our own mistakes is never easy. It takes a lot of courage and, yes, honesty.
I have to admit that I struggled with this myself. There was a time when I messed up a project at work. It was due to a lack of communication on my part and it led to a key deadline being missed.
It would’ve been easy to shift the blame onto someone else or make excuses. But that wasn’t an option for me. I’d learned early on to take responsibility for my own mess-ups, no matter how uncomfortable it is.
So I admitted the mistake was mine. I explained the situation to my team and took full responsibility for the missed deadline. It wasn’t easy, but it was the right thing to do.
People who value honesty understand that everyone makes mistakes. What matters most is how we handle them. If someone can admit their mistakes without making excuses, you can bet that they value honesty.
3) They value transparency
People who value honesty uphold the principle of transparency. They strive to be as clear and open as possible, making sure there’s no room for misunderstandings or assumptions.
That’s why they’re trustworthy and dependable.
In a study carried out by the Harvard Business Review, it was found that 70% of employees feel most engaged when their organization is transparent with them about updates and strategy.
Employees who felt their managers were transparent and honest reported higher job satisfaction. That’s how huge an impact transparency makes.
4) They keep their word
I’m sure you know how broken promises can erode trust in relationships, whether personal or professional.
People who value honesty understand this all too well. That’s why if they say they’re going to do something, they do it. They don’t make promises lightly and when they do commit, they follow through.
Their word is their bond. It’s not just about keeping big promises, but also about following through on the small things.
Whether it’s showing up on time or completing a task they’ve committed to, their actions consistently match their words.
This commitment to keeping their word demonstrates their respect for others and their time, further underlining their value for honesty.
On top of that…
5) They’re not afraid of difficult conversations
As a non-confrontational person, I tend to shy away from difficult conversations myself.
But in the spirit of honesty, I still manage to have those uncomfortable conversations when needed.
Honest people understand that the truth, however difficult it may be to express or receive, is crucial for growth and understanding.
They approach these tough discussions with empathy and tact, always striving for a resolution that respects the truth and the people involved.
Avoiding hard conversations might be the easy route, but for those who treasure honesty, it’s not an option.
6) They show empathy
Honesty and empathy might seem like two very different qualities, but in reality, they often go hand in hand.
People who are truly honest understand the power of their words and actions, and this is where empathy plays a crucial role.
Empathy is the ability to put oneself in someone else’s shoes, to feel what they feel. For honest individuals, empathy helps them deliver the truth in a way that’s considerate and sensitive to the feelings of others.
I’ve noticed that empathetic honesty is about balance. It’s not about just blurting out the truth without regard for how it might affect someone. Instead, it’s about being thoughtful and understanding the impact of your words.
For example, when giving feedback, an empathetic and honest person will find a way to be truthful without being hurtful. They understand that honesty without kindness can be brutal, but with empathy, it becomes a tool for growth and connection.
This blend of honesty and empathy fosters trust and respect in relationships. When you know someone’s being honest with you and also cares about how you feel, it creates a deeper bond.
It’s a rare quality, but incredibly valuable in building meaningful connections with others.
7) They’re open-minded
Another trait that goes hand in hand with honesty is open-mindedness.
I remember when I was younger, I had a very black and white view of the world. Things were either right or wrong, with no room for grey areas.
As I’ve grown and experienced life, I’ve come to realize that this isn’t the case.
People who value honesty are open-minded. They understand that people have different perspectives and that these perspectives can all hold some truth.
They’re willing to listen and consider other viewpoints, even if they differ from their own. This openness to understanding others’ truths is a testament to their value of honesty.
8) They’re consistent
Okay, it’s one thing to be honest once, twice, or a few times. But how about all the time?
You see, for someone to be considered truly honest, there needs to be consistency. There needs to be a real commitment to it. It’s a way of life rather than a one-time thing.
Whether it’s in their communication, their actions, or their beliefs, they remain consistent. They don’t change their story to suit different people or situations.
Basically, they are the same person, upholding the same values, regardless of who they are with or where they are.
This consistency makes them reliable and trustworthy. You know you can count on them to be true to their word and their character.
Refreshing, isn’t it?
9) They lead with integrity
At the heart of honesty lies integrity. A strong sense of right and wrong and the commitment to uphold that.
Ultimately, this is what drives honest people to lead upright lives. They do what’s right, even when no one is watching. Their values and principles come first, even when it’s challenging or inconvenient.
Their actions align with their words, and they consistently demonstrate a strong moral character.
The essence: It’s about respect
At the core of all these traits, there lies a fundamental principle – respect.
Respect for oneself, for others, and, most importantly, for the truth. Honesty is not just about telling the truth; it’s about living it in our actions and interactions.
William Shakespeare once said, “No legacy is so rich as honesty.” This statement rings true more than ever in today’s world.
As we go about our lives and encounter people who embody these traits, let’s take a moment to appreciate their commitment to honesty. After all, it’s not easy to stay honest in a complicated world.
And perhaps, we could learn a thing or two from them about leading a life rooted in truth and integrity.
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