Do you tell the truth and shame the devil?

Last month and over the next few weeks I will be sharing posts that relate to the values of Liaise, all of which have great meaning for me and how I run my business. My previous post was about keeping it simple

Today I am talking about Liaise's second value, Honesty.

Honesty is the best policy…..

As a child I had two things hammered home about honesty……

  • The first (and obvious one) about it being the best policy.

  • The second was that you have to have a great memory to be a good liar.

So, yep you’ve got it, honesty is without doubt the best policy or to be sure your sins will find you out if not!

Of course, there are times in my life when I have told the odd porky (for anybody not familiar with cockney rhyming slang a porky is a derivative of "pork pie" - "lie") – white ones and some a little less white, however Mum and Dad were proved right. I could never get away with it – not least because my face and body language always gave me away.

Tell the truth and shame the devil….

..... another of my parent’s’ sayings, and one that has stood me in great stead over the years.

Telling the truth isn’t always easy – there are times that I’ve felt physically sick when I’ve had to confess to something I’ve done wrong or forgotten to do. BUT, honesty builds trust and respect, even when what you have to say isn’t necessarily good or maybe particularly palatable.

So, from a business perspective, do you tell your customers, employees or boss what they want to hear? Or do you tell them the truth?

The truth ideally.

However, this is probably going to be dependent on whether your business has a culture that encourages and supports this? When people expect to get the truth from you, they will expect nothing less AND they will trust what you say.

A culture of honesty and openness is a must….

The only way that honesty (and in turn, openness) becomes part of your culture is if your leaders and managers are being honest themselves. This is a big subject and there is far too much to talk about in a single post, but for me the main factors of building a culture of honesty are:

Leaders and managers need to be honest themselves; clearly communicating the good as well as the bad, not over-promising and under-delivering or even worse, not delivering at all….

  • Providing honest feedback to teams and each other. Honesty doesn’t mean being blunt or brutal – that is something else entirely; honesty is about being constructive, using facts and being fair…

  • Being open to, and encouraging, honest and constructive feedback from others. Not reacting negatively to less positive information is vital. That old saying, “you learn something every day” has a lot of mileage for us all….

Enabling honesty is dependent on trust, which takes time and effort on everyone’s part to develop. It doesn’t happen overnight, and normally goes hand in hand with respect, again, on everyone’s part. Nobody is going to be honest if there is a chance they’ll get their head bitten off, if there will be negative repercussions or are likely to be thrown under the bus…

Sadly all too often we are pushed by others to agree to unachievable deadlines and expectations. All too often we agree because we want to make a good impression or, often, simply because we want to be liked.

My recommendation? You shouldn’t compromise honesty just to please others or to be liked - not always easy I know!

Don’t promise things you may not be able to deliver – be honest about what you can do! Under-promising and over-delivering is far better than over-promising and not being able to meeting expectations, anyone worth their salt will respect you far more because of it. It's about being realistic about what can be achieved and by when, if you do achieve more, or sooner, then -brilliant!

You can expect openness and honesty from me..

This is only my first post on Honesty, so, for now, my final words on Liaise’s second value are, that you can expect it from me. I may tell you things that you’d prefer not to hear, but if you want the best for your business and your people it is my duty to provide my honest opinion, if you disagree then that’s food for a great discussion …..

About Liaise – we love to work with innovative businesses with growth aspirations for their future and their people. For more information go to

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