Integrity; Are we always lying?

I list in my book, Lead to Succeed, the top ten things that good business leaders do well, and the first and by far the most important is integrity. Good leaders are honest and can be counted on to tell the truth. Now comes an article written by Seth Borenstein for the Associated Press indicating that all of us lie on a regular basis, and that we teach our kids to lie. This is distressing news to say the least. 

    In 1996, Bella DePaulo, professor at the University of California, did a study which indicated that students, on average, lied in every third conversation, and adults lied in every fifth conversation. Maurice Schweitzer, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business (Trump's alma mater) said "I would say that we are lying constantly. Constantly." 

     Part of the problem is that there are many shades of lying. So called "white lies" ("No honey, that dress does not make you look heavy.") are considered harmless and part of what makes our civilization operate effectively. But many feel that there is no distinction. A lie is a lie. 

     We are well into a heated political battle and experts who study lying are alarmed at what they are seeing. According to Politifact, an average of 50% of what the two front runners say is either mostly or totally false, and the average is 87% if you include "not totally true." In other words, only 13% of what these candidates say, on a combined average, is completely true. So, if both are nominated, you will know that whoever you vote for is a practiced liar. Wonderful. 

     Experts say we are gradually becoming numb to hearing lies, and it is becoming the new norm. If we hear a lie often enough we tend to believe it, especially if it is something we want to believe.

     We can't control what others do, but I think that we need to listen very carefully to what comes out of our mouths, and be aware of whenever we say something that is not totally true. Maybe it's not possible or even desirable to be honest 100% of the time, but then again maybe it is. It seems to me that we need to at least try. 

     Click on the link below if you want to read all ten things that good business leaders do well. If you don't like what I wrote, go ahead and say so. The truth is the truth (I guess). 

Lead to Succeed, Chapter One

Tracy Bech