Is Honesty Still the Best Policy?
Posted on October 20, 2014 by TNS Consulting Team (via Scott Spayd)
Of course honesty is the best policy for all the reasons in this debate. Honesty is not always about telling the truth when asked a question. Being honest is a lot more. For instance, are you honest about the time you spend on a job? Are you honest about getting or giving the right change? This type of honesty is more or less covert. You may never be found out, and yet you never know when you’ll be asked whether or not you are honest about these types of situations.
What if you are at a job interview and an unusual question is posed by the interviewer. She asks, “Imagine you have been with the company for a full year. Do you feel entitled to take a pen home?” Yikes! Who hasn’t taken a pen home from time to time? Quick, think. How do you answer? You could deflect and say, “It’s not right to take anything home from work that’s not your own property.” Or you could tell a semi-lie and say, “Yes, I admit, I have taken a pen home from time to time, but only by accident, and brought it back to the office the next day.” Or you could spill your guts and say, “Yes, I did. And I knew it was wrong and unethical, so I apologized to the office supply cabinet.”
Of course we know that a missing pen is not necessarily the issue here, more than likely, it’s how you answer the question. Your interviewer will be studying your reaction to the question, and may be more interested as to how you answer than what you answer. It also depends on what kind of job you’re applying for. If you’re a lawyer applying to a firm, the interviewer will most likely want to see HOW you answer. If you’re applying for a banking position, it’s definitely going to be WHAT you answer.
There are “professional” liars known as pathological liars and they are really hard to detect because they actually BELIEVE their own lies. That’s the difference between them and habitual liars. Habitual liars, and white liars know they might be found out, while pathological ones don’t believe they will ever be found out due to believing their own lies.
One way to spot a pathological liar is that their story (lie) changes from time to time. It’s never quite the same each time it’s told. A good detective is trained to spot this.
In the final analyses, it is my honest opinion that honesty is not only the best policy, but the consequences for dishonesty can be very costly. Most dishonesty is uncovered eventually and the truth always comes out no matter how long it takes. It’s during the time of waiting for the truth that can cost a work place time and zap the energy out of it. Individuals suffer the most in the long run and must learn to be honest no matter what the consequences, or their reputation for their next job will be ruined.