A few weeks back a question was asked relating to leadership integrity, would leader lie for his boss? A case study was laid out in which our hero Steve was asked by is boss Reed to attend a meeting on his behalf and lie about his absence.
Integrity has no neutral zone. You stay true to who you are. If you think about it Enron employees did not wake up one day and say I think I will rip off California and bankrupt the state with energy shortages. No it was the small decisions made a bit at a time guided by a quest for an ever increasing profit. Good people who made decisions that in retrospect may have seemed harmless but taken in total led to rather tragic consequences.
Steve has to find a way to navigate difficult waters. He has to support his boss, be clear that he will not lie and hopefully not make an enemy. The challenge is to not come off as holier than though yet clearly send the message that a mis-truth is off the table. In this case Steve might say something like “Hey Reed I will be happy to attend the meeting on your behalf, now what should I really say to old man Smith? (with a grin on your face) You know he will ride me, I need to be honest with him.” If Reed continues to stick with the fabrication story come clean. “Man I am not comfortable conveying that message. Is there some other way we can get this done, I am concerned that telling old man Steve that way will be dishonest.”
By this point Reed will get the message that you are not trying to judge him, you just will not lie for him.
So how would you handle this situation?
Has this ever happened to you?