At work, especially in the project context, we rely on each other's Word. When someone tells you something, you need to know that you're hearing what the speaker believes to be true. We can each help to create a more Truth-Full working environment by telling the Truth ourselves, especially when the prospect of telling the whole truth seems scary.
If you tell the truth
it's harder to gossip.
(This is a good thing.)Mark Twain wrote, "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything." This is one of many advantages of telling the truth. Here's a list of the advantages of telling the truth over spinning, shading, stretching, misleading, or even lying.
Telling the truth requires less creativity because you don't have to make anything up.
Telling the truth reduces medical expenses by keeping your blood pressure in the normal range.
If you tell the truth you don't have to worry whether what you're saying now is consistent enough — or too consistent — with what you've said in the past.
If you tell the truth it's less likely (though not impossible) that anyone will accuse you of not telling the truth.
If you tell the truth you have to do much less record-keeping — it's easier to remember what you told to whom and when.
You hardly ever feel guilty about telling the truth.
If you tell the truth you don't have to worry as much about whether what you're saying is working.
If you tell the truth you don't have to worry about what to say when you get caught.
If you tell the truth you don't have to learn any fancy ambiguous words to mislead people.
The plain truth is usually shorter than anything else.
If you tell the truth you get practice telling the truth, which can pay off when telling the truth is really hard.
If you tell the truth it's more likely (though not certain) that others will tell you the truth.
If you tell the truth your nose won't grow much beyond its current length.
If you tell the truth it's harder to gossip. (This is a good thing.)
If you tell the truth you don't have to worry about keeping a straight face.
If you tell the truth you have less need to explain to yourself — or your kids — why it's sometimes OK not to tell the truth.
If you tell the truth, people have a chance to find out about problems while there's still time to do something about them.
If you tell the truth it's easier to sleep at night.
If you're known as a straight shooter, fewer people will ask you to shoot crooked.
If you tell the truth often enough, when you say something, people are more likely to actually believe you.
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More articles on Ethics at Work:
- Non-Workplace Politics
- When we bring national or local political issues into the workplace — especially the divisive
issues — we risk disrupting our relationships, our projects, and the company itself.
- Ethical Influence: II
- When we influence others as they're making tough decisions, it's easy to enter a gray area. How can
we be certain that our influence isn't manipulation? How can we influence others ethically?
- Approval Ploys
- If you approve or evaluate proposals or requests made by others, you've probably noticed patterns approval
seekers use to enhance their success rates. Here are some tactics approval seekers use.
- The Attributes of Political Opportunity: The Basics
- Opportunities come along even in tough times. But in tough times, it's especially important to distinguish
between true opportunities and high-risk adventures. Here are some of the attributes of desirable political
- Some Truths About Lies: III
- Detecting lies by someone intent on misrepresentation is an important skill for executives, managers,
project managers, and just about anyone involved in knowledge-oriented organizations. Here's Part III
of our little collection of lie detection techniques.
See also Ethics at Work for more related articles.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming July 22: Red Flags: I
- When we finally admit to ourselves that a collaborative effort is in serious trouble, we sometimes recall that we had noticed several "red flags" early enough to take action. Toxic conflict and voluntary turnover are two examples. Available here and by RSS on July 22.
- And on July 29: Red Flags: II
- When we find clear evidence of serious problems in a project or other collaboration, we sometimes realize that we had overlooked several "red flags" that had foretold trouble. In this Part II of our review of red flags, we consider communication patterns that are useful indicators of future problems. Available here and by RSS on July 29.
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Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.
- Bullet Points: Mastery or Madness?
Decision-makers in modern organizations commonly demand briefings in the form of bullet points or a series of series of bullet points. But this form of presentation has limited value for complex decisions. We need something more. We actually need to think. Briefers who combine the bullet-point format with a variety of persuasion techniques can mislead decision-makers, guiding them into making poor decisions. Read more about this program.
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