Speak with Honor

[June 4, 2020]  Our time as leaders is limited.  We only get to spend so much time in any given position, and we are restricted to how much time we have to accomplish a mission and care for others.  This is why an old sergeant, Vietnam vet, and mentor, I knew advised me to use my time properly and to always (emphasis on the word ‘always’) speak with honor.

What he said was full of wisdom.  Only later was I to learn more about what he meant when he told me to always speak with honor.  His idea was also full of meaning.

As a leader,” he said, “speak not for yourself but for those you lead.”  Treat them with dignity and respect.  Have the courage to hold them accountable, but be firm and fair.

Think before you speak (similar to my grandmother Bigmama’s advice) because what you say travels like the wind and never stops.  What we say will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.  And always speak the truth to the best of your knowledge.  To do so means to never lie to yourself or others.  Lying only corrupts the soul and leads to disaster.

“Speak ill of no man, but speak all the good you know of everybody.” – Benjamin Franklin

Speak to the good.  Never yield to anger, speak a lie, or ask for favors.  No leader can be without flaws and should never attempt to appease others.  Have the audacity to avoid the urge to denigrate, abuse, and slander others.  Speak fondly of others, and you will forever be remembered as the one who made your family, community, and nation better.

Sometimes it’s more important to stop speaking.  Knowing when to talk and when to stop is a sign of an intelligent leader.  Listen when it is time to listen and do your best actually to hear what others have to say.  Doing so will lighten your leadership burden, elevate your reputation as a kind leader, and encourage others to follow you wherever you may travel.

Speak with honor.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

26 thoughts on “Speak with Honor

  1. Bryan Lee

    Leaders speak for those they lead. Well said.

    1. Sadako Red

      Thank you, Bryan for helping put this into perspective. Leaders care for those they lead. They rally them to a good cause. They do what is “good” as defined as what is not corrupt and is for the betterment of all.

      1. Albert Ayer

        Hi Sadako Red. Great to see you on Gen. Satterfield’s site again. I always look forward to reading your comments and articles.

  2. Jonnie the Bart

    ‘Speak with honor.’ I’ll remember that. What a wonderful article to start off my day.

    1. Jonathan B.

      I was thinking the same thing. But this article by Gen. Satterfield reaches much deeper. I think he should develop the idea a little more. Here is an interesting article in the New Yorker that attempts (badly) to define evil. Always good to read something that does not do the job.
      “What Do We Mean By “Evil”?” https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/what-do-we-mean-by-evil

    2. Andrew Dooley

      Yes, quote of the year!
      “Speak with honor.”

  3. Valkerie

    Another great article that made my day, thank you so much General Satterfield.

  4. Deplorable John

    Yes, indeed, our time on this Earth is short and limited. Our time as leaders is even shorter. Make the best use of it, do not spread lies or evil in any way. Our time on this Earth will echo throughout eternity and if we are evil, we have made the lives of everyone that much worse.

    1. Jake Tapper, Jr.

      Yes, D. John — evil exists in the hearts of all mankind. But so is good. That is why the Bible’s message is that evil can be overcome but we must do those things to make it right.

    2. Linux Man

      Good point, Deplorable John (interesting moniker).

  5. Tony B. Custer

    “Speak ill of no man, but speak all the good you know of everybody.” – Benjamin Franklin
    Great quote, should be posted in every workplace to remind us that spreading evil does not do anyone any good.

    1. Greg Heyman

      Yes, good quote but also gets to the heart of “how” we should act. It bypasses the reasoning which has been laid out here very well.

    2. Jonathan B.

      This is also what Christianity teaches us.

      1. Martin Shiell

        And should never be overlooked. Studying the Bible, I ran across a short series from Dr. Jordan Peterson (the same one that this blog has referenced). You can find Peterson’s discussions of the Bible on YouTube. I recommend listening to some of it.

        1. Nick Lighthouse

          Thanks Martin, glad I came back to read the comments section or I would have missed this.

  6. José Luis Rodriguez

    As always, Gen. Satterfield does not disappoint. Today, he is a bit philosophical, yes! And with good reason. I think he is trying to say that what we say is what makes up our character and nothing is more important than your character. Too many are freely willing to give up their honor and integrity but that only corrupts their minds.

    1. Otto Z. Zuckermann

      Oww, I think you’re on it, Jose. Good point to make here. I will add that when the mind is corrupt, then evil can come in and take over. That is what has happened to too many folks when a corrupting ideology supplants what is good (like religion).

      1. Willie Shrumburger

        This is why the ideology of neo-Marxism or post-modernism is so corrupting, … it allows you to lie without any remorse. Those ideologies make you think you are superior to those who don’t think that way .

    2. Max Foster

      I agree Jose that our character matters a great deal. Today’s PC ideologies, best expressed long ago by Marx and Engels, was that it is okay to destroy those who you do not agree with. That is not the beginning of allowing evil in and remaking it as something good but it is one of the strongest ideas that continues to invade the minds of young folks.

  7. Harry Donner

    Nice article and something I had in my mind but never had a way of expressing it. Well done! Thanks.

    1. KenFBrown

      Same here Harry with me. There are thoughts in my head that sometimes I cannot formulate a clear thought on and then when I come to this leadership website, I will occasionally read about that very thing. Glad I came here today. But …. how do I say it? Gen. Satterfield has helped but I think I need a little more to solidify it in my mind.

      1. The Kid 1945

        This is the exact reason that I study leadership wherever and whenever I can. This website is one that allows me a quick and easy (as well as entertaining) way to learn.

    2. Greg Heyman

      YEAH, thinking the same thing guys. 😊

      1. JT Patterson

        Is this the same as “thinking clearly?” Or is it something else?

  8. Roger Yellowmule

    Ahhh, philosophical again, Gen. Satterfield. Making my day by forcing me to think and rethink! Ha Ha. Have a great day.

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