I’ve been thinking about this lately, because I’ve seen much of it. One side says this, the other side says that. It makes me sad. I’m left with the feeling that I don’t know whom to trust. And trust, is a make-or-break for me in business – and in friendships!
I wanted to get it on paper in a debate-myself sort of way. Here’s how it turned out…
If someone on the street stopped us and asked, “As you conduct business, is it ok to tell a lie?” At first response to this question, many of us would say, “of course not!”
However, after we think about our work day, our team, our clients, and all the people in our organization, certain situations creep into our mind and we remember questions that have been posed to us at one time or another… “how was my presentation?”, “I had the best weekend, did you?”, “is this outfit too casual for Casual Friday?”
And then it gets even tougher when a supervisor asks, “how’d you like my quote for the press release?”, “any issues I should be aware of?”, or the dreaded, “do I have anything in my teeth?”
There have been many so-called justified instances for lying over the centuries. So many, in fact, that we’ve softened the lie into words like ‘fib’, ‘white lie’, ‘fabrication’, ‘misreport’, and ‘smoothed-tongued’, so it doesn’t FEEL like we’re lying. Some have gone as far as changing the word into something we adore, ‘fudging’, and ‘snowing.’
Here’s my position… No, we should not lie in business or in our personal life. Short answer as to why I believe this – by definition, it’s dishonest and cowardly. I do not desire to be a version of myself that includes those words.
Now, I’m not a saint (although I’m named after one), so I’m not here standing on a pedestal preaching this, having not sinned myself. But I do want to continue to grow and be better, wiser, more confident, and richer in integrity with myself and my peers.
Is it tough NOT to lie? Absolutely, because as life moves forward our situations get more complex. Here are my top four reasons why I believe lying is NOT ok – and how we can check ourselves BEFORE we prevaricate, so to speak. The first two are more self-focused; the remaining two are how we impact others:
One of the areas where we often lie the most is to ourselves. We do this to avoid facing the pain of our own shortcomings. WorldBlu, a top leadership company, teaches leaders the relationship between their level of self-worth and their ability to be honest with themselves. Leaders who have higher self-worth find it easier to be honest and accountable. Leaders, however, who don’t really love who they are, often struggle with honesty and personal accountability. If we “succeed” by lying, it really wasn’t the best we could do. If we lie and have not yet been caught, we still must live with ourselves in knowing we’re a phony.
Where to begin:
It’s on nearly every company’s “core value” list. A synonym for integrity is honesty. Lying, by definition, is dishonest. This is the opposite of integrity. Integrity is a powerful word in defining who we are to ourselves and to others. Leadership can be defined as a person with integrity that provides inspiration. To me, integrity is living up to something greater than myself.
Where to begin:
Let’s ask ourselves this question, “if someone we know lied one time, do we think she’ll lie again?” Odds are quite high that she will. Once a reputation is tainted, it’s nearly impossible to reverse it. Our professional reputation is a formidable omen to whether someone will be willing to do business with us.
Where to begin:
For decades, there have been studies on the topic of trust. It’s always a top characteristic that employees look for in their leader. In an article from Science for Work, they mention multiple studies specific to trust, including one that states employees will be more committed, more satisfied, and less likely to quit. Also, in times of change within the organization (isn’t this always?!), employees will be more flexible and accepting of these changes.
Where to begin:
ACTIONS TO TAKE...
If we find ourselves stuck in a unique situation where lying is our easy way out, here’s what I recommend. I’ll start with the weakest action and end with the best option. First, be KIND, and then:
I’ll summarize with this, the definition of lying brings up words that I would never want to be linked to, including deceitful, dishonest, two-faced, insincere, fraud, false, and hypocrite.
Brutal! So rather than leaving you with such a harsh ending, here’s how I’ll conclude – I’ll share words associated with someone who DOESN’T lie: trustworthy, sincere, moral, honest, ethical, decent, principled, candid, reliable, and honorable. (Lord knows, we can’t argue with Merriam-Webster.)
If you’ve gotten this far, thank you – I hope to have the opportunity to work with you to deliver on your business objectives. Five Levels Consulting specializes in communications strategy, planning, consultation, and implementation. And if it pertains to employees – that’s our sweet spot.
Send me a message at Blaise.Tracy@FiveLevelsConsulting.com
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