The Most Honest Professionals But Is Honesty Always Best?
What's your take on telling lies? Were you taught that it's wrong to lie? Were you brought up on the Ten Commandments where big number Nine is not bearing false witness against your neighbor? Ever been told that "Honesty Is The Best Policy?" That's an oldie but a goodie --in fact the proverb is first found in the 1599 writings of Sir Edwin Sandys, an English politician and colonial entrepreneur, who was prominent in the Virginia Company which founded the first English settlement in America, at Jamestown, Virginia.
Honesty has had its share of twists and turns on the public landscape since then. As it plays out in professions today, Forbes magazine says 82% of people find nurses to be honest and trustworthy, military officers are second at 71% and grade school teachers -like my wife Sara-at 66%. Toward the other end of the scale where honesty is in question, local office holders at 24% and TV Reporters at just 23% are thought to be honest and trustworthy. (I'm hoping my teacher wife's good score can help offset the low scores of my two former professions!)
But is honesty REALLY the best policy? We're taught that lying is a really bad thing to do, but researchers are saying there's a lot we get wrong about deception.
Time Magazine reports that a professor at the University of Pennsylvania believes we should be teaching our kids, students, and employees when and how to lie.
(Does that mean we can tell that professor we lost our homework when we never did It?)
Experts say there are five scenarios where fibbing might be the best course of action:
1) If you have want to establish trust that you have someone's best interests at heart (also called "prosocial lies")
2) There's no time to change course of action (basically if the person you're lying to doesn't have time to act on information you might give them.)
3) If you're giving constructive criticism (deliver it in a more gentle manner, as it will likely get you a better outcome in a the long run.)
4) Right before a special occasion (don't give someone honest information at a time when it will distract them from something important.)
5) If you're not close with the person (In competitive relationships or first interactions, honesty is precarious and can damage relationships and reduce trust.")
Situational honesty. So is it the best policy in your mind?