|When leaders lie|
By Cynthia Schoeman, Managing Director Ethics Monitoring & Management Services
Telling a lie is arguably something that everyone does from time to time. This can amount to a small exaggeration or a “white” lie that is apparently harmless. A lie can even be shaped by good intentions, for example to avoid hurting someone. (“Of course you look good in that new dress.” / "No, you have definitely not gained weight.”) But the “slippery slope” argument maintains that a relatively small first step can develop gradually until it amounts to something much more significant, when the lie is no longer harmless.
The other factor that exacerbates the impact of lying is when leaders lie. This stems from the fact that leaders exert the greatest influence on the conduct of others. But the ideal of being a good role model who influences his/her followers positively is, unfortunately, not always the case.