I’m a liar. Are you? Even though my passion and platform is Speak Your Truth, probably like you, I’ve stretched the truth (lied) to protect others from unnecessary hurt or pain. If I’m being honest, to protect myself as well. Come on, I didn’t really have to leave the party, but I’d had my fill of small talk.
We label these as “white lies” and justify our actions. It would still be best if we could all speak our truth, and I’ll continue to provide motivation and phraseology. However, it’s still helpful to educate yourself about lies and their consequences.
Carol Kinsey Goman, in her latest book, The Truth About Lies in the Workplace: How to Spot Liars and What to Do About Them, looks at the ways lies damage relationships and cost businesses time, reputation and money.
In her deception survey, 53% of respondents said their immediate supervisor lies to them. About half said they’ve had to deal with colleagues who lied to and about them “on a variety of matters a good deal more serious than missed deadlines.” Can you imagine what that does for employee engagement?
The book provides considerable details on how to spot liars based on body language, but the information I found especially interesting dealt with the distinctions between the sexes when it came to lying. Goman’s research aligns with what I learned as I created my gender communication program.
Who, Goman wondered, are the biggest liars – men or women? While no studies show that one sex lies more than the other, there is agreement that men and women lie differently.
“Men tell more self-centered lies,” Goman noted. “They lie about their accomplishments, salaries and status in an attempt to appear more powerful or interesting than they are.”
While women also tell self-centered lies, theirs are more “other oriented” lies, intended to protect others’ feelings. Women are also “more likely to fake positive feelings,” according to Goman.
What’s the real truth? Lies do not serve you, the people you live with, nor the people you lead. Find a way to speak your truth. I’m going to make a commitment to be more consistent to leaving the party with a simple, “I’m going to leave now,” and even when pressured, not default to the easy white lie.
How has a lie in the workplace affected you? Speak your truth in the comments section.