What Is The Best Defense Against Lies and Liars?

I keep repeating how our ancestors considered lying evil, and put to death any tribal member who lied too much.  I do that for a reason.  I consider lying, not money, as the root of all evil.  The best defense against lies is to listen to both sides of a story, and then decide what is true and not true.  Unfortunately, most individuals do not do that, and in some cases, the entire reservation suffers as a result of decisions based on lies.

I am going to create a fictional scenario where people in leadership positions are lied to, but do not listen to both sides of the story, and the organization they govern suffers as a result.



An organization finally hires an administration that is doing a good job.  The administrators hold workers accountable for their actions; they make tough unpopular decisions; and most of all, they do not let governing board members interfere with the day-to-day operations of the organization, and unlike past administrations, they do not (shockingly) cater to the every whim of board members.

This ethical behavior does not sit well with a couple of the board members who are used to interfering in the day-to-day operations of the organization, and having the administration treat them like royalty.  So when one of them is approached by a couple of disgruntled workers who... well, simply lie about the administration, the disgruntled board members jump at the chance to put the administration back in its place.

After listening to lies about the administration traveling excessively, not showing up for work, not working while in the building, having favorites, and punishing "good workers" for no reason at all, the board members are more than happy to use these unsubstantiated accusations to punish the administrators.

These board members are so glad to have a chance to put that uppity administration in its place, they don't do what an ethical board member would do, which is ask the administration for their side of the story, before they reach a conclusion and make a decision.

Instead, these board members approach other board members, and repeat what they have heard, swearing it is the gospel truth (another lie).  So without asking the administration for their side of the story, the entire board decides to punish them.  Long story short, the administration eventually gets tired of the lies, harassment, and unethical behavior by board members and quits.  

The board quickly hires an administration that will cater to their every whim and they are happy.  They are back in charge.  Unfortunately, the tribal members who are served by the organization are the ones who are ultimately harmed because the organization is dysfunctional again.  What is really sad is this: these board members, having never learned to make a decision without getting both sides of the story, do not see anything wrong with their behavior.

If you are in a leadership position, and are getting tired of all the people who come up to you with stories about how bad their administration and other workers are, try this: immediately go to the person who the accusations are about, and get their side of the story.  Then make your decision.  Once you start doing this, you will be surprised at how the number of people who come up and lie to you about someone diminishes.   

There is another scenario where just the opposite is true.  When the administration is wrong, but the board does nothing to rein them in.  That is my next blog.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dr. Erich Longie published on August 12, 2009 9:15 PM.

Why Our Ancestors Considered Stealing an Evil... was the previous entry in this blog.

What Is The Best Defense Against Lies and Liars? (Cont) is the next entry in this blog.

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