Most people, if asked, would say that they live their life and run their business with total honesty. But is that true? And does dishonesty have its place in any corner of business?

First it needs to be recognized that there are pressures in business which can motivate people to justify dishonesty. Pressures from peers to partake in dishonest actions, pressure from bosses to yield results, pressure from your family to provide more, or pressures from yourself to accomplish more can all influence your decision to veer off the path of integrity in order to accomplish a goal or meet others expectations. People will try to ease their inner conflict when they partake in a dishonest act by decreasing the severity of the situation. They don’t see providing lower grade quality of products or supplies as dishonest they see it as keeping the project cost down for their client. If a person steals an idea, or sabotages someone else’s idea they will tell themselves they’re not being dishonest they’re being competitive. In addition to people having the ability to redesign their intentions into something more comfortable, dishonest actions can be perpetuated by the blind encouragement of others as well. People who praise dishonest actions by deeming them “creative,” “cleaver,” or “inventive” are effectively aiding the dishonest person to feel good and justified in their actions. Given that honesty, and therefore dishonesty, is a slightly subjective attribute people’s perception of what is dishonest is reliant more on what they can get away with rather than what is the amicable.  Each individual must be aware of the fine line between being true to a quality and deceiving themselves into a false reality of being true to the quality, and be aware that the rewards dishonest actions might be greater at the time but they come with unforeseen consequences.

Employing total honesty in business can lead to (longer) delays in gratification, possibly tense situations, and possible doubt in decisions to pass up a dishonest opportunity that could have yielded the results you’re looking for. However, honesty is practical and will usually yield the same if not better results than if someone were to take the dishonest road when considering all of its advantages. You will never have to worry that someone will find out about a dishonest act you’ve partaken in. You will feel more rewarded and deserving of the goals and accomplishments you do obtain. And you will have a reputation of integrity along with honesty which has endless, immeasurable positive consequences. People tend to find that integrity generates trust and thus long term success. People who employ honesty and aim to conduct themselves and their business with integrity realize that success and happiness goes beyond the promotions and the money and that dishonesty might get them the success they’re looking for faster, but it truly robs them of real happiness that comes with gaining that success.

In order for a person to maintain their integrity in business decisions and situations it is important to determine priorities and where you stand in a certain situation, make your position and intention known to those that matter, remain non-judgmental and non-confrontational to those who don’t agree with your position.