TO LIE OR NOT TO LIE
By Marilyn Tam
Scott Thompson, the four months old CEO of Yahoo, was forced to resign because he lied on his resume. Worse, he lied about his lying and was found out. He denied that he inserted an extra degree into his resume, and then he blamed the recruiting firm he worked with for doing so. The recruiting firm, wanting to maintain their reputation, showed that it was Mr. Thompson who lied. Net result is that Mr. Thompson now has much more time to contemplate the efficacy of lying.
The question is, what are we willing to tolerate in our leaders’ behavior and reflectively in our own? Lying is bad. We’ve been told that ever since we were little. Or have we? Haven’t we also been told, “don’t say that, it will make them feel bad”, and there are such things as “white lies”, as compared to I guess black lies, which are bad.
So we have grown up with some sense of expediency in what we call lying. Why do people lie? Is it because there is a perception that one can get ahead faster by lying than by telling the truth? Why would someone who is already well credentialed and respected feel the need to embellish his or her story? Is it a basic human nature to try to appear more than we are?
Insecurities and fear that we are not as good or confident as we may appear to the world is a common trait. Almost everyone have self-doubts. Many years ago in a quote that is oft repeated, Sally Fields upon receiving her second Oscar in five years burst out saying, “I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!” It shows that even performers who are on top of their game harbor great anxiety about their worthiness.
The way to deal with the uncertainty is to own that it is part of you and continue to forge ahead. Over the years as I climbed the proverbial corporate ladder I’ve had many occasions to witness self-serving lies from people in power. I also was there to...