Why do Business Leaders Lie, When it Often Backfires?
Peter Bregman on why leaders often try to spin the truth to look good.
- Duration 7:46
- Date Aug 23, 2012
Peter Bregman on why leaders often try to spin the truth to look good.
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Peter Bregman foxbusiness.com.
Who's here talk to us today about.
Being honest and do people really want you to be honest as it relates to businesses and really in life you wrote an excellent.
Article that I just read through on the Harvard Business Review and you can also find it on foxnews.com.
In the business section as well there it is do people really want -- to be -- really emphasized.
What's about the article first and talk about how it can relate.
To business that you had a personal experience that you tied in to how to -- is perceived in the business world.
Yeah I was I was gonna walk a walk -- my wife and we you know we're we're we both work we were very busy we had you know 3040 minute walk through walking up this hill and we saw friend of ours.
And we like this Fred I mean she's nice but we really want to spend time together and when she came to set all walk review.
We we -- something that was sort of true which is we are trying to keep our heart rates up and we wanted to walk fast but the real truth was we just wanted time to ourselves.
And the problem was when we were coming back down and heart rates -- -- problem because you're walking down the -- we clearly didn't have a heart rates up she was there again.
And we were sort of caught in this slight dishonesty busted busted.
That's right right in.
That you eventually saw her later explained that you felt kind of keep the everybody feels that if you.
If you feel like you've given somebody a slight in somewhat well as it that's right so we.
We think we're lying for the other person but we're really life for ourselves and we're really lying because we're really not honest with people because we don't want to.
Be hurt when they reject us we don't want to feel like you know where the person who has mean brand -- that we we wanna see ourselves as.
Really good people and this is great personal example can translate into business and he wrote in this article too about why your company.
Needs to keep it honest this could really sniff out the trick people can tell right it would time you know that everybody's -- everybody knows you know my favorite moment at was during the Iraq War.
When that Saddam Hussein's.
PR guy with standing up and the cameras were facing him and behind him was Baghdad.
And there were bombs going off in Baghdad he's right all bomb -- from Baghdad.
And and he was looking at the camera saying no wounded no damage to Baghdad no bombs -- going up in Baghdad and you've seen the bombs behind him.
And that image should be in everybody's mind because the reality is life is transparent business is transparent people know if they don't know they're gonna figure out pretty soon.
But I mean it happens all the time not just leaders but also company presidents and and there.
And their people to go out into the press conferences they they go out there to try to make the truth.
To look good but it can be unconvincing so why -- people do it an out of the companies that you work with have any of its leaders are CEOs explain why it.
Why they think that lying is a good idea.
You know they invade I do have those conversations periodically and no one would ever call lying right because nobody wants to see themselves as a -- it's about framing what it's about how do we -- -- how to -- that's how do we make -- look -- certain way.
And what what what they found leaders that I've worked with what they found when we look at it is.
The best framing is the truth because people learned that they can trust you.
The most important thing in business distrust its most important thing.
If analysts feel like they can trust -- -- -- the stock price if your employees feel like they can trust you they're going to be loyal -- your customers feel like they can trust you -- stick with you -- times.
How do you develop that trust.
You develop that trust even if it feels a little unkind even if it feels a little not nice -- If you're able to really tell the truth and even if it's bad news in fact I would say especially if it's bad news.
People like to hear the truth when things are bad because then they'll trust you but if you're saying things are good and they kind of know things are bad.
They're not gonna -- Accident in this current economy you know like let's say that if somebody finds out they're going to be layoffs and then that wind gets around to the employees and then how -- they try to calm nerves intact while they're still trying to figure out.
If they're going to need to lay people -- -- -- company CEOs and and presents -- say we're gonna have to have some cutbacks or should they wait until they not.
You know I think it's a great question because the question is transition time meaning how long it.
The transition time will and and transition time is actually very hard and frustrating for people often because it's the uncertainty that makes life hard.
So that's that I think what their leaders need to do if they're thinking about something and they're not sure if they're gonna do it.
They can keep it within the smallest possible group.
It it not lying to people but just keeping the information to the smallest possible group when they know it's gonna happen they want to be very efficient and very quick about.
Telling the truth being clear about what it is.
Being honest and open about it and moving quickly and then because the remaining people will then be able to trust them.
And you want people who leave your company to feel like they were treated well right if they feel like they were lied to.
They're gonna go out there and say bad things about the company they're gonna say bad things about the leadership.
In its gonna hurt.
Hi Peter wanna I wanna bring -- some of our comments I asked people the beginning of the show to go ahead and send -- and tweets and some comments on life we've -- for you now want to share this with you.
And get your reaction trials Reese wrote.
George Washington said it is an old adage that honesty is the best policy.
This applies to public as well as private life.
-- states is -- individuals more importantly god said thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
Bearing false witness is another form of dishonesty Charles -- also -- again.
Fox just because some people like to be lied to doesn't mean that type of behavior needs to be spread to the workplace or practice on a regular basis I like being honest and I appreciate folks.
Being honest with me.
Yeah and you know the thing that I would say also is that.
Win that you.
Are honest people come to expect you to be honest.
So that they're not surprised if not not nice they just see you're the guy or you're the woman who speaks honestly and they come to expect it.
And it doesn't reflect badly on you -- reflects well.
And and finally you know -- looking through the article that we're gonna tell people about against check out.
You know this all is easier said than done for -- the hard part of the emotional part the hard part is emotional part to say.
These people like my friend and she's asking me to be honest to her and if I'm honest to her I might -- -- -- -- of the you know we're talking earlier you know like.
That you someone that someone doesn't perform in a certain way and they're saying how -- I perform and you want to.
You wanna tell them how they perform honestly but you know that they may never talk -- again if you tell the know what I don't what do you tell people what that that happens to the worst case they're that you hear the -- But modest would hurt their feelings they may not ever talked to me I told him before we got on air that actually did happen to me.
What do you tell somebody like me who would tell the truth and then got hurt right -- -- quite.
You know -- the you play the odds.
Frank which is that you might talk to twenty people and and one of them feels like they were burned by you because you were honest with them.
And nineteen of them are thankful because you're the kind of friend that they can rely on -- And and hopefully you don't know what's gonna happen three years down the road the person may come back here and say you know what you're the only one who really told -- -- at that point and that was really useful to.
Really good advice -- a great conversation starter -- -- I want you to check out the article you -- of course on foxnews.com.
In the business section also on Harvard Business Review.
Do people really want you to be honest so there's the article it's great and for people who want to follow here on Twitter humans what -- Peter Bregman a OK and and my website Peter Bregman dot com Peter it was -- -- in making so much for the start my pleasure.