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Do your staff members really trust you? According to a survey by Harvard Business Review, 58 percent of employees would trust a stranger rather than their own boss. One way to build trust with your employees is to be genuine and honest in the workplace. These attributes will allow you to create a culture that drives business growth and fosters collaboration.
Are White Lies Acceptable?
Most companies have core values like honesty and integrity. Yet, only a few live up to the claims. About 60 percent of adults tell at least one lie during a typical 10-minute conversation. Your employees are no exception.
White lies, or small lies, are common in the business world. Employers and employees alike tell lies to motivate others to work harder or take action toward a goal. For example, you may tell your employees that a customer needs to have a project delivered within three business days. That isn't necessarily true, but you want them to work faster and stop wasting time.
The problem is that dishonesty can cost you big. In the above scenario, your employees may feel pressured and make mistakes that affect the entire project; this can negatively impact the customer experience and hurt your brand. Why not tell them the truth in the first place? Let your employees know that you're not fully satisfied with their performance and that they're wasting too much time chatting or surfing the Internet. Explain to them how this kind of behavior can affect the organization as a whole.
Importance of Honesty in Business
Although white lies are socially acceptable, they can have a cumulative effect and hurt your business. Dishonesty affects organizational culture, teamwork, management, communication and employee relationships. Additionally, telling small lies – even if they are well-intentioned – makes it easier to lie more often, leading to a vicious cycle. This can hurt your business reputation and branding efforts, fuel distrust among employees and disrupt their performance.
Remember the old saying, "Honesty is the best policy?" It applies to business, too. Honesty and integrity are essential for creating a healthy workplace. Employees who are stressed by dishonesty are more likely to quit their jobs, which in turn can affect your turnover rate and make it harder to attract talent.
Being honest in the workplace fosters open communication and constructive feedback. Let's say that one of your employees does a mediocre job, but his peers keep praising him. Perhaps they don't want to hurt his feelings or ruin the relationship. They're not doing him any good, though. Their honest feedback would help him overcome his shortcomings and deliver better quality work.
How to Demonstrate Honesty
Whether you're a business owner or employee, it's important that you demonstrate honesty and integrity in the workplace. First of all, keep your commitments and don't make promises you can't keep. For example, if you miss a deadline, don't shift the blame around. Take responsibility for what happened and make sure it doesn't become a habit; come up with a plan to remedy the situation and stick to it.
Integrity is at the core of honesty and trust. Be a role model for your team by following through on your decisions, treating everyone the same and practicing what you preach. Address issues in a timely manner instead of telling your team members that they have nothing to worry about. Always tell the truth rather than sugarcoating it.
Reward your employees for being open. If something goes wrong, seek solutions rather than placing blame. Let your team know when they're doing a good job and when they're doing something wrong. Back up with statements with hard facts and explain your point of view. Be known as the kind of person that people can trust and rely on in any situation.
- INC: 4 Unexpected Words Powerful Leaders Say Daily to Inspire Others
- Forbes: Three Reasons Why White Lies Are the Worst Solutions to Your Problems
- Michael Page: What Is Integrity in the Workplace?
- Brian Tracy: The Importance of Honesty and Integrity in Business
- LinkedIn: Do Honesty and Integrity Have a Place in Today's Workplace?
- Software Advice: Why Honesty Is the Secret Ingredient of Successful Organizations
Andra Picincu is a digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience. She works closely with small businesses and large organizations alike to help them grow and increase brand awareness. She holds a BA in Marketing and International Business and a BA in Psychology. Over the past decade, she has turned her passion for marketing and writing into a successful business with an international audience. Current and former clients include The HOTH, Bisnode Sverige, Nutracelle, CLICK - The Coffee Lover's Protein Drink, InstaCuppa, Marketgoo, GoHarvey, Internet Brands, and more. In her daily life, Ms. Picincu provides digital marketing consulting and copywriting services. Her goal is to help businesses understand and reach their target audience in new, creative ways.