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Leadership Thought #343 – Lying Almost Always Has Consequences

April 27, 2012

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Lying eventually catches up with you.

There is a great saying, “if you don’t want to forget what you did, then always tell the truth.” I also like the common refrain these days that “…the cover-up is often worse than the crime.”  Honesty matters!  If people feel like they should regularly question what you are telling them, then they won’t trust you.  This is a problem that many of our current (and past) political leaders must deal with, and it is of their own making.  All you need to do is turn on the TV or read a newspaper or magazine and there is ample evidence of individuals dealing with the consequences of being caught in a lie.

It’s difficult to lead GOOD people if they don’t trust you.  There are entire industries now that are held in low regard because of the painfully obvious dishonesty of leadership figures.  It gets to the point where you feel the level of deceit and corruption is systemic.  Once you embrace an “ends justify the means” mentality it is a slippery slope especially if your primary end objective is power and/or money.  It is also helpful not to do things you end up having to lie about.  The universe is trying to tell you something if you must be deceitful.  It may take a while, but eventually, any government, industry, company, organization, or system will decay from the inside out and collapse under the weight of its own untruthful and immoral behavior.  History is littered with examples of leaders who failed to grasp this fact.  Actions always have consequences

Lastly, at a more micro level, in your own personal or professional life, I’m sure you have seen the damage that dishonesty can create.  The truth should never be optional.  We are all human beings and as such are imperfect and prone to error.  We will make mistakes and have moments we aren’t proud of.  However, when you stumble or fall, own up to what has happened rather than lie about it.  Limit the damage as best you can.   The sooner you embrace reality the easier it is to fix the problem.  The truth will set you free or the lack of it will box you into a corner.  I’ve known people who have held onto a significant lie for many years and all it did was eat them up inside and make them bitter – guilt is a resilient emotion.

The question you should ask yourself is, “Why are you lying and what are the long-term consequences of not telling the truth?”