As parents and teachers, we always teach our children the importance of honesty. When our children lie to us, we hold them accountable, and we usually try to make the occurrence a teachable moment. The concept sounds so simple. Telling the truth is something that we all learn early on. There are constant reminders every step of the way, and we can probably all remember what happened when we were caught lying. So, one would think that everyone in the world would remember their childhood lessons and would maintain a level of honesty throughout our personal and professional lives. Well, we all know that this is not the case. People lie every day! In the business world, lying has almost become a regular part of the everyday routine.
As the owner of a successful small business, I feel like I have seen it all. With over 50 employees, 100+ customers, and a whole team of outside supporters, I have been shocked at how easy it has been for some people to completely lie to my face. I like to think of myself as someone who likes to find solutions to problems. Even the greatest challenge can be solved in some way. What should I do though when the people I have entrusted to have my best interests in mind, are not honest with their intentions? As the boss, the buck stops with me, and over the years, I have used my experiences to enable me to make better decisions. Sometimes though, even the most experienced professional can be left feeling like he or she has been taken for a ride.
It may be old fashioned, and I may be naive, but I truly believe that honestly in the workplace should not be a negotiable item. I have been told by others that I am sometimes a “pushover boss” and that I need to be stricter. I am not sure if my employees would agree, but I like to look for solutions, not create new problems. In all cases though, I try to tell people like it is. If someone is not meeting expectations, I try to find a solution that will lead to improvement. If the time does come to let someone go, I try my best to make the person understand that it is not personal. The same is true when dealing with outside people such as customers and services providers. Nothing can be gained by dishonesty. If anything, it just causes resentment and bad issues later on. Unfortunately, I cannot control the behavior of others. Over the past ten years, I have learned a lot of painful real-world lessons about business and trust. In the end, I would like to think that these lessons have made me stronger and better at my job. I would also however, like to think that there could have been better ways to accomplish the same goals.