I Ask You: Is Loyalty or Honesty More Important

Honesty or loyalty…it’s a simple question, right? Or is it? Those three words have stirred up some enlightening conversations in my world as of late and I felt the need to share them with you. I have come to the conclusion that leadership is 95% a...


Ultimately the intent of asking this question is simply to get your people talking. Talking about themselves, about the fire service, about our culture and values, as well as what they hope that good leaders believe.  All of their answers can give great insight into what is good and perhaps not so good in your people. And most importantly in my book, you will gain a deep well of information from which to draw upon in your leadership profile.

The challenge then remains to process and utilize the information that you gather from this thought-provoking question. Reinforce your own morals and motivations; be open minded enough and willing enough to adapt that which you have always held true. Improve where it is needed and revel in the areas where no improvement is needed, but never, my friends, rest on good enough.

This is where I give you my “get out of jail free card” as I am no expert in psychology or anything really if the truth all be told. This narrative is merely the collective of my own observations and I share them not to impress you or make you think of me in any higher capacity.

Instead it is my hope that you will take my observations and make some of your own, read more about values in leadership. I might point you toward Dr. Harry Carter’s article that I now see on Firehouse.com as continued credence to the importance of our values. Whatever you do, please be sure to draw upon these concepts as means to broaden your own depth and abilities as a leader wherever you find yourself in your career. And when this little exercise is all over, ask yourself, Deep down in your own heart, “What is more important to you, honesty or loyalty?”

LEE LEVESQUE is a firefighter and public affairs officer for the Lady's Island St. Helena Fire District in South Carolina. A 20 year veteran of the fire service, both career and volunteer, and is a fire and life safety educator instructor. Lee is a member of the NFA Alumni Association. You can reach Lee by e-mail at: levesque@lishfd.org.