I can’t stand people, especially leaders, that don’t deal with others in good faith. I took my two business law classes almost 20 years ago, yet the concept that has stuck in my mind over time is that of the good faith transaction. Wikipedia defines good faith as “sincere, honest intention or belief.” What I never knew until yesterday was that the term “bona fide” means in good faith.
Bona fide leadership does not play games. If you find yourself competing with those you’ve been given the privilege to lead to “win” on an issue, you are not a bona fide leader. I have no respect for leaders that lack a heart for important issues, or lack the courage to voice their real opinions when the heat is on. But I abhor leaders that manipulate, deceive, or otherwise disrespect their constituents during decision making or negotiating. That’s simply inexcusable.
Bad faith “involves rationalizing to form a belief in which there is deception, duplicity, insincerity, or dishonesty, due to failing to take certain facts into account or using invalid argumentation.” (Wikipedia). Mala fide leadership might get you tactical wins over your constituents in the short term, but as soon as they discover your game you will lose whatever trust they had in you.
Bad faith leaders are liars, not bullshitters. The bullshitter’s main purpose is to impress us by exaggerating or otherwise “stretching” the truth. Liars, on the other hand, know and care about the truth but in bad faith purpose to deliberately mislead us instead of telling the truth.
Your leadership is honorable only to the extent it is bona fide. Sacrifice your honor and you surrender the moral authority to lead.
What do you think? Please share your comments below!