This week while driving to a training event I was listening to the radio personalities discuss a study recently published on honesty. Apparently, the most honest people are children around the age of seven and adults over the age of sixty-five. The most dishonest people were teenagers. The study stated on average a person is dishonest twice a day. Most of the incidents of dishonesty were around not wanting to admit a wrong, which they themselves had committed.
In the Mandt System we spend lots of time discussing the importance of honesty. We use it in our formula for building trust in our relationships. We have all experienced a person being honest but in a way that was delivered in a manner to purposefully hurt. Often times aggressive communicators use honesty to justify their communication. They say things like “I was just being honest, she needed to be told!” They believe as long as they hold up the honesty sign they can say things even if they are hurtful. Honesty should not be a weapon. Honesty should be delivered in a way that is meant to build a person up and not tear a person down.
In the above mentioned study I found it interesting that most incidents of honesty were around not admitting to a wrong the person themselves had committed. I find people who openly admit to wrongs they commit refreshing. I trust people who openly admit to their own errors more because of their honesty. Perhaps we build the most trust in a relationship when we are honest more about ourselves and less about others. People who want to go out and spread their honest opinion about the actions of others are less likely to build trust in their relationship. A person who is open and honest about their own behaviors, even their shortfalls, will have much more success in building trust into the relationship.
Tim Geels – SVP of Organizational Development