The Dos and Don’ts of Truth

We’re all human and tempted from time to time to compromise the truth, even just a little, because it’s either convenient or we can gain from it personally. While I could give you many examples of things you should and shouldn’t do, I think you’re intelligent enough to understand the obvious. Instead, I’d like to suggest a few guideposts that will keep you on the straight and narrow path of honesty:



Four Things You Should Do:


  1. Be true to yourself. In order to like other people, you must first genuinely like yourself. Before you can really be true to others you must first be true to yourself. Knowing who you are is being truthful to yourself. If you like what you see, self-respect will be your reward. YOU CAN NEVER GET BEYOND THIS POINT BY “LIVING A LIE” ABOUT WHO YOU ARE.
  2. Think twice before speaking. Think carefully before you speak. Ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say the truth?” If it is, open your mouth and let the words fly out. I learned this technique trying to cure a case of stuttering I had growing up. It worked. It also works for telling the truth. If you think first, you won’t rush into saying something you’ll regret later. In the end, YOU ARE WHAT YOU SAY.
  3. Think of another way to say it. Sometimes in a workplace situation, it is necessary to get a clear, truthful message across to someone, especially if a job situation is on the line. One way to do this is to mention the positive things about that individual. Encouraging positive performance can help create change rather than resistance. Using this approach also avoids having to tell a lie. Then of course this also holds true. If you can’t say something good, say nothing at all.
  4. Temper truth with kindness. If the truth in what you’re going to say will hurt or embarrass someone, find a positive way to say it that still gets the message across without hurting them. Their feelings and emotions should be a strong consideration, especially if you know them to be sensitive. Putting someone down only makes them fail quicker.


Four Things You Should Avoid:


  1. Don’t exaggerate. There’s a fine line between exaggerating and lying. If you develop a reputation as one who exaggerates the truth, people will become suspicious of anything you say. You will not be trusted.
  2. Don’t cover up for others. There may be times when you will be asked to tell a lie to cover up for someone. Don’t do it. It’s not always easy to resist, especially if the request is coming from a supervisor or one of the higher-ups. Your honesty will either earn you new respect or confirm you’re working for the wrong company. Covering up and lying for kids is probably the worst thing a parent can do for a child. It sets the wrong example and gives the impression they don’t need to be accountable for anything.
  3. Don’t ask others to cover up for you. For the same reasons you shouldn’t cover up for others, don’t put others on the spot by asking them to cover up for you. Tell the TRUTH!
  4. Don’t tell “little white lies.” You have to use common sense in determining how to say something so that it is not a lie. The danger is that “little” lies eventually become big lies. There’s no stopping them then.

Here’s the bottom line on the dos and don’ts of truth, short and sweet: Truth leads to trust, and trust leads to success.