JS Tip 294: Some Answers about Lying

Tips from Jefferson Smith Training and Consulting

** From the Ethics and Values Workshops: Some Answers about Honesty

Last week, we asked if lying was always wrong. And if lying wasn’t always wrong, what circumstances justified lying.

You responded beautifully.

And profoundly.

These are some of the responses we received: “In my opinion, lying is always wrong. We describe ourselves as rational beings with the power of free choice, but to be truly ethical we must learn to respect that power in others as well. Lying manipulates other people so they can’t make the choices they would have made if they knew the truth.” “There’s never a “right” situation for a lie. Integrity is all we have at the end of the day.” “Much of business is based on trust. So lying is not good for long-term relationships.” “Lying is always wrong. Deceit in any way is always wrong. There are no conditions where lying is acceptable.” One reader allowed for one circumstance: “Lying at one’s own expense is not wrong and can be very honorable; however, lying at another’s expense is wrong, especially if the lie benefits the liar.” (For example, giving credit to another even when you’ve done most of the work.)

The last comment raises another question: Is “social tact” (“You did a good job” as encouragement) a lie?

Intriguing. Let us know what you think.

Thank you.

We love this stuff.

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