I used to work with somebody who claimed he never lied. He was very proud of this fact and would defend it quite fiercely when challenged. I once saw him nearly come to blows with a colleague who had doubted something he had said. I mean he certainly had a lot of integrity and he was a very trust-worthy person but when it came to lies I am afraid to report he told them like everybody else.
“I’ll call you back this afternoon” and then he didn’t.
“I’ll certainly take that into consideration” and then he didn’t.
“That’s a very fair comment and I respect your viewpoint” when he didn’t.
“I am just about to get that done” when he wasn’t.
I don’t mean to be unfair to my friend (because he still is as a matter of fact) because he was only doing something we all do from time to time that is blur the line of truth. He just did not see any of those statements, and many others besides, as being anything other than devices to help him get through the day without too much fuss but sadly they were still lies just the same.
Big deal! Well yes it is actually. There is a psychology going on here. People assume that if you let them down on the small things you will do the same on the big things; the important things. You may not see it this way and would probably be horrified to think that anyone would doubt you would deliver the important stuff but they do.
The really ironic twist here, of course, is that these small yet damaging lies are really easy to avoid. Try these three simple actions and see how your standing will improve: –
- Be vague on a promise if you don’t have to be firm “I’ll call you next week” rather than naming the time and day.
- Use Outlook Tasks to remind you when it is time to do something you have committed to or if you are a paper and pen person just keep a list and refer to it regularly.
- Before you make a commitment think “Do I have the time to do this?” and avoid making the commitment if you don’t.
Reputations are made and broken by the small things easy things as well as the large difficult things. Worth a thought perhaps?
[tweetmeme source=”mike_ames_flair” only_single=false]