Three Reasons for Lying in the Workplace
I want to challenge you. It’s my job to challenge you and how you think, hopefully in a way that you can use to add value as a leader or manager, or just on your personal journey. Challenging thinking, both mine others, was bread and butter when leading murder investigations and developing the best in teams and individuals.
It seems to be a recognised truth that building trust is a core skill of leadership, but this is far easier said than done. Honesty is needed before trust, and being honest is just not in our nature. Research suggests that being dishonest I something we learn very early in life, and use every day. You can delve a little deeper by following this link to the National Geographic site.
Reason 1 – Self preservation
Let’s face it, it is a competitive world whether we are speaking about the workplace or our home life. Nature dictates that even finding a mate is a competitive process, and that means for us human’s too. In the workplace, there is often much at stake, whether this be our reputation, financial or opportunity gain or loss, or our own general embarrassment and emotional roller-coaster ride. Why would we do anything that risks damage to any of these?
“If evil be spoken of you and it be true, correct yourself. If it be a lie, laugh at it.”
Reason 2 – The human need for power
The reality is that, as a competitive species, we need to have an element of power. How better to achieve this than to not be entirely truthful, to swing things in our favour? It may not be obvious, but we can form a very distorted view of what is the truth. We can do this even during day to day conversations, relaying a conversation we had earlier with someone else. How often do we relay this conversation in a way that makes us look better? Do we relay the conversation as it really was, or in a way that obtains agreement or understanding from the person we are relaying it to, and at the expense person we actually had the conversation with?
“Only enemies speak the truth; friends and lovers lie endlessly, caught in the web of duty.” Stephen King.
Reason 3 – Not realising we are responsible
We are responsible for everything we do, everything we say, although we can often find this hard to accept. Far easier is to blame someone or something else, we get sympathy from being a victim of another or of circumstance. But the truth is we are responsible for our speech and actions, and even for our own feelings.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” Eleanor Roosevelt
My challenge to you is to spend some time thinking about honesty in you as a leader or manager, and the type of culture you want in your workplace, and from you as an individual. It is a hard journey, but one that is absolutely worthwhile for our own personal integrity and development as an inspirational leader.
If you’re interested, there are two books I have found really interesting about honesty, termed as candour. The first is “Radical Candour” by Kim Scott, but my own favourite is “Principles” by Ray Dalio.
I’d love to hear from you with different views, or if you have developed a high degree of honesty in your workplace. Thanks for reading.
PS…Have I found a way to completely stop lying? Of course I have 😉!
Contact Mark Preston:
Phone – 07402 148683
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Website – www.easleadership.co.uk