Throughout history the virtue of Honour has inspired legendary feats of courage and elegant literature.  Yet I don’t recall hearing the word even once in my first 5 years working with Melbourne business.

Honour is the driving force behind loyalty, respect and heroic effort. Doesn’t that sound like the culture you’d want in your business?  Without Honour we have no assurance of the productive business relationships we often take for granted.

Why is Honour so important to me? I know its power.  My business and personal life sat in the gleaming reflection of Honour most of my 50 years. For many years I developed and led large hugely successful sales teams who were like volunteers.  Their drive and extraordinary results came by force of virtues not employment contracts.  I have also done brilliant mothering to my 4 children (now adults), but also know the flip side of pain and dissipation when Honour breaks down in a marriage.  Most of my grief and loss in a 10-year period came from lack of honour and dishonour – much through passive or passive-aggressive behaviour – and it has been a slow, costly path creating new relationships between us.

One of life’s principles is that you have to give before you receive.  When a leader honours his or her people (including the ones with unglamorous roles) it is as if the people have all grown taller. Honour elevates the heart.

On a daily basis, giving Honour to your people looks like:

  • Creating an environment of autonomy not compliance
  • Providing opportunities where people can excel and advance in their key skills
  • Treating roles as a vocation not a job
  • Noticing individuals
  • Treating every role as champions to the cause

In turn, receiving Honour from your team looks like:

  • Loyalty, respect
  • Resilience, hardiness
  • Bravery, sacrifice
  • Commitment, reliability

The ‘Honour cycle’ is like a ‘super-fuel’ that generates a whole new level of engagement and productivity. Honour breaks through personality barriers, and even better, its effect and payoff compounds over time.