Is Honesty Really The best Policy?
There was the recent report of the Nigerian newly elected President, Muhammad Buhari saying this:
(Going by election results), constituencies that gave me 97% can not in all honesty be treated, on some issues, with constituencies that gave me 5%.
I think these are political realities. While, certainly there will be justice for everybody but the people who voted, and made their votes count, they must feel the government has appreciated the effort they put in putting the government in place. I think this is really fair.”
All hell broke loose. Critics called for the president’s head for the unpresidential and undiplomatic statement.
I don’t want to concern myself with whether he actually said this, or analyze the context in which he said(?) it. Rather, the question is, is it better to be brutally HONEST, in all situations and be frank, consistently call a spade a bloody spade. Or, would it be better to learn the art of double speaking, always be subtle, diplomatic?
This post emanated from a situation explained to me by a friend, who is currently in a quagmire.
He is into equipment leasing. This guy has a brother who has two daughters who just left school, searching, unsuccessfully, fervently, for jobs. Everywhere they go, there is the request for computer literacy, about which they are totally clueless.
The brother then approached this leasing person, asking him to lease a laptop to his daughters, so that they can get computer literate quickly, and brighten the chances /probability of landing jobs (they have been loafing around for like two years)
This leasing person has a set of criteria for determining who to lease to. Like being gainfully employed with steady income, etc, etc.
To cut a long story short, this needy brother falls short on several parameters and simply doesn’t qualify for a lease. This would likely be bad business.
Now, this friend is asking, should he be honest, and tell his blood brother that he doesn’t qualify (since he simply doesn’t meet the critical lease requirements) ?
Or, should he go the diplomatic route by starting telling cock and bull stories, a role he is not used to. He is in a dilemma.
If he chooses the first course of action, this brother (in some financially dire straits) would likely take offense. The second option is alien to his character.. being shifty,slippery,lying, being evasive.
What’s the best line of action here?
Can ‘honesty be the best Policy’ here? Would you risk denting a long standing family relationship by saying it as it?
Are there extenuating circumstances where it’s better to lie or obfuscate rather than be brutally frank and trithful.?