5 Keys to Achieving Workplace Immortality – Honesty (1 of 5)

(This post is a foundational part of doing business better. As such I am not able to cut it down to ‘blog post’ size. Therefore, I will be cutting them up into a single post for each of the 5 tenets)

1 of 5

Here are 5 tenets I have field tested over the last 15 years. They are at times painful, laborious, and seemingly counterproductive. But they work. And without them you are cheating your employer, fellow employees, and yourself of the better you that you can be.

1. Be Honest

2. Be Kind

3. Care

4. The Binder

5. The Log

1. The absolute bedrock of ALL business is honesty.


No business can go on for long without practicing honesty. This is especially true in today’s economy where sharing experiences with your business takes place on a daily basis and for all to see on the many social media platforms out there. I can think of one example in which a local business dealing in damage restoration treated their employees like Otterpops – the frozen popsicle treats. They hired an employee and pushed them to their breaking point until the employee quit. This company was treating their employees like they were eating an Otterpop on a hot summer day. They cycled through their employees, continually promising them salary and benefits if they just kept working hard. This company sold to a national competitor and never realized the growth potential they had at their fingertips. Another company I am acquainted with that currently uses this same tactic is finding that their employees are reciprocating the company’s behaviour. Word has gotten out how the operate. Now, the only people in that field that are willing to work there are those that only plan to stay for a little while until something better comes up.

One buzzword honesty brings to mind is transparency. Transparency is important as it give confidence in those wishing to consummate a deal with you that the facts really are as you have presented them. Honesty, though, goes a further than transparency. For example, transparency can lead to the discovery of a mistake and even to the discovery of the fault of the mistake. However, honesty compels the cause of the mistake to come forward and reveal itself. It does not wait to be discovered.

As an employee or an employer, this level of honesty can be painful. Admitting to mistakes may even reach a level of being ‘dangerous’. Additionally, it is tempting to go half way in being honest. How often do we find ourselves choosing our words too carefully in order to lessen the blame  on ourselves. For example, I borrowed the company truck for a personal trip into California. On the way I hit the side mirror on a road sign and shattered the mirror. In explaining this incident to the boss I said “I busted the side mirror on the truck. We should probably get the alignment checked because that truck swerves all over the place.” I had admitted fault but shifted some of the blame on the truck itself.

We need to remember that when we are not completely honest then any short-term gain in getting away with something will eventually be replaced by long-term assessment of our reputation. Conversely, any short-term pain resulting from being 100% straight forward will be offset by the log-term building of a sterling image. In other words, there is an upside to admitting when the fault lies with you – trust. Trust is the end result of following the policy of honesty. And when trust is coupled with capability, you will find that success is not far distant; that others will be willing to place their chances with you.



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