The Meaning of Honesty
By: Abby Twyman | October 21, 2019
Honesty is the best policy. What about the procedures to encourage and produce honesty?
Provide feedback in a way that is clear, concise, non-confrontational, value-based, and provides an opportunity for further discussion regarding personal and professional development.
Why do people lie? WTF? What’s the function? For every lie there are two general possible outcomes: (1) get away with the lie – get good things desired or avoid the bad thing, or (2) get caught lying which could lead to getting something bad or losing something good. However, what is the probability of outcome 1 versus outcome 2? What is the relative risk-assessment of each outcome? Does the benefit of outcome 1 outweigh the risk of outcome 2? What is the likelihood of someone contesting the lie? If the social circle is generally non-confrontational or if the threat of punishment from the liar is high, the likelihood of doing anything is low.
Red and yellow flag warnings should be a cue to stop, ask questions, and seek more information before proceeding. Low immediate reward, possibly high immediate punishment (even if it “feels” right, we’ve been conditioned not to trust our feelings) and long-term punishment likely if a negative response from the liar (e.g., more lies, threats, treated as if crazy – gaslighting). So we just accept it, don’t ask questions, don’t seek justice, treat as though it just “is what it is” and that there’s nothing we can do.
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