We’ve all heard the saying “honesty is the best policy”. It is a bit of a cliché, but then that’s because it’s true!
Failing to tell the whole truth or concealing part of the truth can have a massive impact on your relationships. Often that impact is not in a good way.
Let’s take a look at some examples.
You’re at a dinner party with some friends and you’ve all agreed to bring a dish. One friend has brought something that looks… questionable. You ask what’s in it, and they say, “Oh, just some spices and things, it’s an old family recipe.” You take a bite and immediately regret it. It’s spicy, sour, and just not nice. Later, you find out that they actually forgot about the party. When they remembered they panicked and used everything and anything that they found in the cupboard. They hoped no one would notice. Now you feel like you can’t trust them to bring food to any future events!
Your boss asks you to work on a project with a colleague. They don’t tell you that the colleague has a history of not pulling their weight. You assume that everything will be fine, but they do nothing. The project is hard work, you feel like you are doing the work of two people. Then when it comes to the final delivery, you’re left scrambling to fix everything at the last minute. Your boss is wondering why you didn’t raise any red flags earlier.
You’re at a party and someone asks you what you do for a living. You don’t love your job or the company you work for, so you say something vague like, “Oh, I work in an office.” They ask for more details, but you are sparing with the information you share. Later, you find out that they work for an amazing company that’s hiring in your field. They never mentioned it because they assumed you weren’t interested. Now you’ve missed out on a great job opportunity!
These scenarios may seem light-hearted, but they all stem from a lack of honesty and transparency. When we don’t tell the whole truth or purposefully conceal part of the truth, we’re not only hurting ourselves, but also the people around us. When someone is not truthful, it can create a ripple effect. Other people may start to question their credibility and motives, which can lead to decreased morale and a breakdown in trust.
This is why it’s important to establish a culture of honesty and trust from the very beginning. When people are honest with each other, they are able to build trust and establish strong relationships. In a workplace setting, this trust is essential to creating a high performing team. Teams that are able to communicate honestly and openly with each other are more likely to achieve their goals, make better decisions, and build a sense of collaboration and cooperation.
While it may be tempting to avoid difficult conversations or hide the truth to spare someone’s feelings, it’s important to remember that honesty is always the best policy. Omitting the truth or failing to be honest may seem harmless in the moment but it can lead to miscommunication, misunderstanding and a breakdown in trust.
So, next time you’re tempted to withhold the truth, think twice and consider the impact it may have on those around you. Remember that honesty really is the best policy*
*Caveat – honesty is about having the right conversations. But remember you also need to have those conversations in the right way, and at the right time if they are to have a positive impact.
Want to know more?
Sarah Harvey is the Founding Director of Savvy Conversations Ltd and author of the highly acclaimed book “Savvy Conversations: A practical framework for effective workplace relationships.”
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/savvysarah