New research from the University of Notre Dame found that people can purposefully and dramatically reduce their everyday occurrences of lying, and in doing so, significantly improve their physical health.
Not only that, the “Science of Honesty” study also revealed that truth-tellers improved their interpersonal relationships and enjoyed smoother social interactions than when they used to whitewash their lives with lies.
Slippery as the truth can be, it’s absolutely better applied than denied.
In the workplace, corporate values are often on-topic when casting visions and fashioning mission statements. And, when agreed upon and practiced, are effective guideposts in shaping policies, programs and procedures.
But defining values for personal and corporate gain comes with intrinsic dangers. Take for instance the much-bantered-about “Family Values.” Whose are we talking about? “Traditional” Family Values? Gay and Lesbian Family Values? Addams Family Values? Obviously, there are as many values as there are individuals and circumstances.
Despite how noble the term seems, values are relative and subject to variation and interpretation. They are certainly not universally applicable. How about the value of Tolerance? Seems fair, sounds good, right? But only when practiced judiciously! Should we be equally tolerant of artistic expression as human trafficking? So values are and must be fluid for an individual, a work team or a society to function successfully. But to build on bedrock and absolutely flourish requires embracing not just values, but virtues.
Virtues aren’t some quaint holdovers from the Victoria Era. And they may not be in vogue. But by their very nature, virtues are universal and absolute standards that do not change with circumstances, time, or point of view. When practiced, they always support moral excellence and collective well-being.
Unlike disputable values, virtues of self-control, courage, patience, perseverance, persistence, compassion, kindness, gratitude, courtesy, dependability, and integrity (among dozens of others) are always profitable for mind, body and spirit, as the Notre Dame study on honesty begins to quantify.
Truth be told, virtues matter in every leadership decision, every personal relationship, every strategic plan, every course of action. When you exemplify virtuous character:
- You model trustworthy principles and promote the same advantageous and healthy behaviors in those you lead.
- You stimulate intellectual development, professional competence and corporate responsibility in your spheres of influence.
- Your customers, clients, colleagues, and even your competitors notice and respect your worth.
- You can recover more quickly and fully from missteps and mistakes.
- You strengthen and solidify beneficial and profitable habits.
- You can overcome the negative effects of self-centeredness, ignorance, arrogance, poisonous attitudes and unethical behaviors around you.
- You exert influence over your own personal and professional future.
- You avoid moral entrapments and legal troubles.
- Your career will flourish and you will prosper physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.
- You build an enduring legacy of worthy accomplishments and transformational results for those who follow.
- You become a respected difference-maker in your family, your company, your profession, your community, and your world: Honest!
MasterPoint: Virtues matter.