What to do when people don’t tell you the truth

Over the last few years, while working with individuals to enhance and express their professionalism, it has always seemed to me that the most productive approach is always to look for the best in everyone.  Just occasionally, however, I come up against people who truly challenge that belief and that is very disturbing. 

In general, we rely on people to tell us the truth either at home or at work.  Sadly, we occasionally encounter situations when people either don’t tell the truth, are evasive or just won’t communicate.  The result is that we then need to find a way to respond to them that allows us to maintain our own values and that is not always easy.

I am currently personally involved in a distressingly negative situation, so I thought I would share the experience and see what you make of it.  After a very long search, we have finally found a new house which means that we can make some looked-for changes in our lifestyle.  So far, so good.  That part of the process has been perfect, with all the elements falling into place in a painless and virtually seamless way as the professionals involved have all done their jobs efficiently and without fuss.

In stark comparison has been the behaviour of the ‘professionals’ involved in the sale of our current property.  Their combined lack of honesty and unwillingness to communicate  have rendered this part of the transaction utterly traumatic.  One would, perhaps, expect more when one of the professions is overseen by a regulation authority. 

There is an old quote which says ‘If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything’ (attributed to Mark Twain) and this has been really well demonstrated by the fact that every ensuing statement has either contradicted or negated the untruth that went before it.  There have been days when we have seriously doubted our own sanity in trying to unravel the spaghetti of falsehoods. 

And while enduring the pain of this process, continually in the back of my mind has been page 55 of my book Professionalism – the ABC for Success which is headed ‘Honesty’ and discusses the benefits of this key professionalism attribute.  My advice in that section, when having to deal with those for whom Honesty is not quite so important, is to rise above it and move on.  Wise words but oh! so difficult to achieve.               

I hope you haven’t been affected by this type of behaviour, but if you’d like to talk about key aspects of professionalism then do give me a call.