Guest Post: Does Getting Away with Lying at Work Really Work?

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I’m very happy to have the first guest-blogger to The Positive Pragmatist be such an experienced and generous individual. Andrea Gold approached me to write an article and the topic she wanted to share with you fits right into the approach to life I am trying to share with you all.

Lying is one our strongest defences, protecting us from social ridicule, protecting others from unnecessary embarrassment (the “does my butt look big in this?” question), and we learn this skill at a very young age. Ever watched videos of small children lying that they didn’t eat the candy, unaware of the video evidence that proves they scoffed the lot?

But in the workplace, as Andrea goes into, lying might not be the best course of action.

So, I’ll hand you over to our wonderful guest, Andrea H. Gold.

I’ve co-founded and run a company, Gold Stars Speakers Bureau, for 27+ years. We pride ourselves on operating with integrity. It’s our highest company value. Our company motto is: “Our word is gold.”

When you work in business that long, you see things. And some of those “things” include perhaps NOT the best side of people.

Employees and the “Honesty” Meter

Take employees, for example. It’s been rare, but I’ve seen work that was not fully done or not done according to our company systems. So that becomes a training opportunity.

In one case, I even printed out an example of the error, to show the employee for training purposes. My initial action was to “beep” the employee on the phone, and I pointed out the error. To my dismay, I discovered that this employee quickly fixed the data in question, then denied having made the error in the first place.

But, she was too late. I already knew she was lying. The evidence was staring at me, in print. I chose not to show her the evidence, but she was let go very soon after. It caused me great sadness to be forced to take that action, too.

I don’t always “call someone” working for me on something like this. However, I can never trust that person again — even if the lie was about some little thing.

A lie is a lie.

Instead of lying, I’d rather the person “own it,” fess up and then do better next time. I support that work culture and I share that with people. It’s all about growing and learning. A wise boss will give space for that (now, repeating the error multiple times after multiple corrections? Hmmm, then you have a different problem).

Examples of Bending the Truth

These may seem like no big deal (but think again!):

  • Taking something home that isn’t work-related — perhaps as small as office supplies
  • Doing personal work, communications, or un-work-related activities during work hours, hours paid for by the employer
  • Fudging the time sheet, if it’s handwritten, or having another person enter the punch card if there’s a time clock
  • Blaming a mistake on another or not owning a mistake
  • Suddenly having forgetful moments so he or she ends up gaining something

Clients and Vendors

Lying doesn’t just occur within your office walls. Your very customers and suppliers could be stretching the truth also.

People lie or conveniently change the facts for their own benefit. They pretend to tell the truth, knowing full well they are fibbing.

Your Credibility vs. People’s Intuition

People can usually sense when you are not telling the truth. If they suspect that you are lying, or just feel that you are lying, that could be enough to turn them off.

Let’s bring this home, and get real close and personal. How many times can you lie before others don’t trust you anymore? The answer? ONLY ONCE.

Copyright 2015 Andrea H. Gold.

About the Writer

Andrea H. Gold is president of Gold Stars Speakers Bureau, author of multiple books, including “The Business of Successful Speaking,” and committed to life adventure and continual inner growth and personal change.

You can reach her at andrea@goldstars.com or her website.

Speaking of trust, permission granted to reprint this article as long as this contact information is included, and a copy of the reprint is emailed to Andrea.

Once again, many thanks for sharing this article with my Ding Dingers, Andrea.

There is a real stark difference between a White Lie that avoids a problem, or skirts around an issue that really doesn’t warrant an argument, or stress, and a flat-out lie that only deepens the rabbit-hole.

In my experience, the lies that people choose to make at work only make things worse, and usually the truth comes out in the wash — especially if you’re lying to someone who knows where to look for the truth.

In work, people appreciate and respect honesty, especially where that honesty leads to the right things being done, on budget and to deadline.

Let me and Andrea know your thoughts on this subject in the comments.

Until next time: stop lying, ya great big fibber.

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Published by

KG Heath

Digital Health professional, author, and lifestyle blogger.

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