If you want real respect in the workplace, act with complete integrity, even in situations where the consequences aren’t high. This gives everyone around you the confidence that they can count on you when there are real consequences at stake. Leaders lose a lot of credibility when they tell employees a lie when asked a sensitive question. If you can’t talk about it, tell them that in a way that’s respectful and let’s them leave the conversation with dignity. They know you can’t talk about everything and they will respect you for telling the truth.
The same holds true for customers when you make a mistake. Own up to it at all costs, always. You may think your customer doesn’t know enough about your business to smell a lie, but we know from our own personal experiences as customers that isn’t true, just wishful thinking. If a customer feels they can’t trust you to tell the truth, they’ll quit you just like the employee who feels disrespected when you lie. Our first reaction is to save face but in the long term, you lose credibility. Honestly, people know mistake are made and they’ll respect you for owning it, especially if you’re owning a mistake made at a lower level that was out of your control.
One frequent instance where being transparent is frequently abused is in job interviews or when approached for new positions. Your new employer will quickly find out what you know or don’t know, and they will be disappointed to find out you don’t know what you told them in the interview. Talk about starting off with zero credibility and having to rebuild it if you’re even able to keep the job! Avoid the mess by being brutally honest and the people interviewing you will know they’re dealing with someone who values integrity and can be trusted. It’s easier to train someone with integrity than deal with someone you don’t trust.
Quit being fake today, no one appreciates it and they never have!