Honesty is the best policy. Who didn’t hear those words when they were growing up? In my house, the dog NEVER ate my homework! If I forgot to do it, well then, I just had to own up to the teacher and tell the truth. Bounced a ball in the house and broke a vase? Nope, it wasn’t my brother’s fault; I was careless.
You get the picture. And I dare say that many of us were raised the same way and with much the same values. But for some of us, things have changed as we got older.
It’s no longer the family pet on which we can lay the blame and the stakes, well, they’re much higher as well. Little white lies can have big repercussions that can affect you and others for a long time.
You’ve been derelict about giving your co-worker the information they need to complete their important report. When questioned by management you throw your co-worker under the bus by commenting on their lack of diligence and neglect to mention your part in the situation.
You call in sick when you want to go to the beach with your friends. After all, you deserve a day off and so what if you didn’t schedule it with management. Your co-workers can cover your duties, right? It’s better that you let them think that you’re sick rather than risk finding out that there are some important tasks for you to finish today. Someone else can do it for sure!
You get a late start to work and arrive late (again) blaming the traffic for your tardiness. Heck everyone knows that traffic is bad around here so why wouldn’t it seem truthful if you just cast the blame on the infernal traffic. (Traffic, it’s always the traffic. At this point your boss and co-workers are probably questioning why you don’t leave earlier if you always seem to have traffic delays!)
Now sure these are small things but did they impact others? You can bet that they did.
Here’s why old-fashioned honesty and integrity in the workplace is the best policy:
• A person who lies is setting themselves up for scrutiny and mistrust. Don’t you know that your boss and co-workers are questioning your whereabouts when you return to work the day after the beach with a rosy glow and a seemingly miraculous recovery? Too smart to get tan? Don’t kid yourself, there’s a discernible difference when you return to work after a day home with a stomach bug versus a relaxing day on the beach.
• Your time out of the office or continued lateness causes your co-workers and management to scramble to get everything handled. You impact office productivity and perhaps morale as well.
• Blaming a co-worker for something in which you played a role and not owning up to your part will cause everyone in the office to dislike and mistrust you. There’s nothing worse than working with people who don’t have your back regardless of the situation.
• Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating for brutal honesty in all situations. Kindness, respect for others and appreciation must come into play when giving feedback and employee reviews. You can be honest and communicate your points without undermining the confidence and self esteem of individuals with whom you are working.
Mom was right! Act accordingly, select your words with care and be fair, considerate and respectful and above all, be honest in your dealings with others.