Don’t! Lie to me.

Lie to Me is one of the few shows on TV I actually watch. I LOVE it! It tells the story of Dr. Cal Lightman (played by another favorite: Tim Roth) and his team who use applied psychology to read facial and body language clues to expose the truth and lies in criminal investigations. The show is so popular that in November of last year it was renewed for another 9 episodes the first of which is scheduled to play on June 7th. I can’t wait!

What does this have to do with Data Quality? Nothing specifically, but it has everything to do with working with others to achieve common outcomes.

If you have been following my blog or tweets, or have read some of the comments I have posted on the blogs of others, you may have noticed that I sometimes make reference to behaviors I have observed that don’t enable trusting, collaborative partnerships; in fact they do quite the opposite! And these behaviors, displayed through facial and body language and, although quite subtle, can be very detrimental to the successful outcome of any project or program.

So why am I writing about this? I read body language. Steady. All the time. In every single encounter and meeting. I know pretty much what you’re thinking, who you like or dislike, what pushes your buttons, and when you are lying (OK, that’s pretty harsh, how about ‘when you are not telling the truth‘). Yes, those times when you verbally agree to something while shaking your head in a back and forth manner tell me that actually you DON’T agree at all, and if you do it with your arms folded across your chest or without eye contact it also tells me that you STRONGLY disagree.

And when you ask for my feedback but focus your eyes elsewhere it tells me that actually, you have no intention of listening to my feedback and in fact, you are probably thinking about what you need to pick up at the grocery store on the way home :p

These types of behaviors do not show trust. They do not suggest partnership, ‘we are in this together’ or ‘I care about your opinion or insight’. They tell me that some form of approach, unilateral decision or direction decision has been made and that regardless of what my, or the insights of others may provide, it will not be taken into consideration.

This is an issue. If you want your project, program, event or activity to be successful, you need to be aware of the motivations and feelings of others, and especially if you are working together as a team. Team: –noun – a number of persons associated in some joint action..

So if you have a common goal, and you want to achieve a successful outcome, you need to work together as a team. And in order to work together as a team, you need to trust each other. And in order to establish trust, you need to be honest. Just tell the truth. If you are making a unilateral decision you might have a perfectly good reason for doing so. Explain the reason. Be open about it. Say: “I need to do X because of Y”, or “I appreciate your feedback but cannot act upon because of this reason”.

You will be surprised at what will happen. The team will appreciate the honesty. They will, in turn, be more open and engaging. You will establish credibility. You will gain supporters. You will have increased chances for a successful outcome. And guess what, your body and facial language will look more like someone who is relaxed, trusting, open and engaging: direct eye contact, informal stature, relaxed arms. You get the picture.

So why do I love the show Lie to Me so much? It takes the reading of body language to the next level. It shows examples of minute facial expressions and body movements that you might not have noticed before and provides some real life examples as to what they probably mean. And I’m a good student! So watch out! I know what you’re thinking. Don’t lie to me!

“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything” ~Mark Twain~

3 thoughts on “Don’t! Lie to me.

  1. Jim Harris

    Great post, Jill.Honest–I swear I'm not lying :-)I am also a fan of both the show and Tim Roth.Beyond the fiscal capital involved, initiatives are funded with the social capital of the assembled team. Trust is a currency, and a vitally important one. You might be able to raise more money when necessary, but it is almost impossible to raise more trust. The initial investment can grow, but once lost, trust can usually not be recovered.Therefore, I definitely agree that we need to tell the truth because lies are the quickest way to destroy trust. However, as George Berkeley lamented:"Truth is the cry of all, but the game of the few." Emily Dickinson also poetically pointed out that:"The Truth must dazzle gradually, or every man be blind."So maybe we can find a middle ground? After all, there are certainly times when speaking the absolute truth to management might actually get you fired :-)Best Regards,Jim

  2. Sheezaredhead

    Oh I know what you mean Jim! Some people just can't handle the truth. For others, sometimes the truth hurts. It may not be what people want to hear, but there is a way to do it right: wait for the appropriate moment, make sure you have supportive facts, be non judgmental and sincere. It MGOF (might get one fired), but I'm sure someone else who values trust and honestly will hire one…er…at least that's what I'm hoping! Thanks for the awesome comments, much appreciated!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s