Honesty, Ethics and Authenticity Build Your Reputation


By Dr. T. William Hefferan

The concept of honesty can be a difficult and troublesome topic to discuss. Honesty is difficult to test for, and some individuals are skilled at creating falsehoods. A particularly important and valued past mentor of mine who was responsible for my start in my career, swore by the statement, “Someone who lies to me will steal from me.” Honesty directly relates to trustworthiness. Determining honesty presents a difficult challenge for hiring professions trying to sort out who are the honest job candidates.

Job seekers also face a challenge as they have to somehow “prove” their honesty during the hiring process. We are prone to lie easily about our own honesty. Most people habitually use insignificant levels of falsehood. (“That outfit looks great on you!”) Many might say that an innocent fib here and there doesn’t hurt anyone. The question becomes how you scale “insignificant” in the workplace culture. Or how you define or scale “habitually.” Self-honesty helps us easily avoid substituting rationalized thinking for our true feelings.

For many, lying about their own honesty comes easily because we tend to speak before really analyzing the truth in what we are about to say. Being honest can be more difficult than lying, as it is difficult for us to dig into our true feelings and sometimes face the fear of understanding what is deep within us. Yet on the other hand, being honest is easier in the long run, as the cover-up of a deception or a lie over time is difficult to maintain, depending on accurately reciting the same story over time.

The problem with dishonesty is that in the workplace it reduces the ability of people to deal with one another openly and effectively. This reduces productivity and certainly affects harmony in the workplace. Not being honest and open in the workplace can create and promote gossip that can be damaging to relationships.

By creating an atmosphere of honesty and openness in the culture, employees and managers can spread a feeling of compassion and empathy, feeling and sharing. We integrate our openness with the conscientiousness of others, aiming toward creative endeavors and establishing mutually rewarding and beneficial relationships. Being sincere, honest, and authentic achieves long lasting rewards. Employees who demonstrate ethical behaviors and authenticity communicatethese cultural foundations that enhance productivity.

The EMBER Model of Ethics and Authenticity below is one of the building blocks of a mutually beneficial and rewarding employment relationship (EMBER).

The EMBER Model of Ethics and Authenticity

The presentation of our true self reveals our genuine core values and true character, and is our desired natural state. When accustomed to repeatedly acting in an ethical fashion, our personal moral compass will develop the habit of virtuousness, but our conscious mind must be taught to know this fact. Being self-aware of our inherent personal codes of ethical conduct helps us establish our knowledge of our real self, that we both discover and invent. When we live authentically, we exude transparency to show our real moral fiber and our intentions toward all men as being good, by displaying an attitude of loving kindness and humility. When you can truly believe that what you say is true, and persistently demonstrate your honesty through your deeds and actions, personal credibility and trustworthiness combine to build your reputation.

How you work with others and what they feel about how you treat them professionally and personally begins to set the tone for your reputation. You begin, perhaps, by resting on the ethical foundation of your profession but you are required to add your own building blocks to that baseline, to prove your own set of values. In essence, you must demonstrate the list to them by your actions and deeds. In any profession, your “moral compass,” not just the printed list of ethics guidelines of your profession, will be your personal ethics guideline that determines your reputation and ultimate success in your chosen field.

Copyright © 2012 by Dr. T. William Hefferan
All rights reserved, used by permission.

Jobs and unemployment concerns are definitely some of the biggest issues facing the United States at this time. If you would like more information about JOBS by Dr. Hefferan or about his organization – Wisdom in the Streets, please visit his website http://drhefferan.com/.