Bringing authentic behavior to work

We’ve all worked with people who spend all their time plotting and planning, saying one thing and meaning another, smiling to your face while stabbing you in the back.

Author and business strategist Stephen MR Covey calls it “counterfeit behavior”— the sweet-talking to others’ faces and badmouthing behind their backs that plagues so many workplaces. Lying, spinning, posturing, manipulating. Saying something that is technically true but intentionally leaves the wrong impression.

Yuck. Even thinking about it gives me the shivers.

It isn’t always immediately clear what’s going on. People may not see the hidden agenda, but they sense it, and trust goes down. The lack of trust spreads like a contagion. Instead of taking responsibility, people begin to point fingers and blame others. They start listening without understanding, and promising without delivering.

It’s a recipe for workplace disaster.

The antidote is authentic behavior. Straight talk. Honesty. Speaking about people as if they were present. In short, it’s simple ethics—you treat others as you would like to be treated. Because that too is contagious.

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