The Mindful Leadership Blog

Just In! Our Pants Are On Fire!

August 31st, 2017

What’s hot?

Harvard Business School experiments reveal that when given the opportunity, most people will lie. Big, fat lies are rare. However, more than 70 percent of the more than 40,000 people who have participated in “the matrix experiment” have cheated – falsely reporting the number of their correct answers.

So what?

The workplace is rife with occasions where we are tempted to “shade the truth” such as when we:

• Want to escape the consequences of mistakes or we fail to live up to our responsibilities.
• Over-estimate our abilities (the I think I’m above average – a genius even belief).
• Need to reassure ourselves, when facing difficult circumstances, with self-talk that’s more wishful thinking or revisionist than actual truth.

The problem: when we lie – even to ourselves – our brain becomes accustomed to deceit. Leadership requires integrity. Honest leaders are not afraid to face the truth. They see the world as it really is, not as they wish it to be.

What to do?

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. It helps increase your sense of understanding and compassion and increases the likelihood that you’ll be a bit more honest with yourself. It’s certainly worth a try.
Forgive yourself. So, you screwed up. If you can take ownership of what you did in an honest and forthright way, you can move ahead and avoid the same missteps in the future.
Create a reminder for yourself. Research studies at UCLA and MIT have found that a simple reminder to be honest works most of the time. One simple reminder is some sort of icon (on your PC, desk, cubicle) – a visible prompt to level with yourself.

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