George Santos is in the news for all of the wrong reasons. Whether or not he remains an elected official in the U.S. House of Representatives, no one wants to be the top news story for having falsified their resume, or have their honesty or integrity in question.
It is in your business’s financial interests to hire only honest people. Here’s why honesty is a crucial quality of every member of your team.
What is honesty?
Above all, honesty is a feeling, a disposition and an orientation toward the truth. Honest employees cannot tolerate lying, fudging data, misrepresenting themselves or their companies, or other acts that display contempt for the truth. Falsehood in all its forms is poison to an honest person.
There’s a famous clip from the movie “Patton,” directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and written by Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North. There is a passage where General George S. Patton describes winners and losers.
George C. Scott, who won an Academy Award for Best Actor, interprets the line, “Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser” at the one-minute, 46-seconds mark. The passion in that performance is how honest people feel about the truth. Honesty people love the truth and will not tolerate a liar.
At least, that’s what we aspire to. And it’s a good thing too, as we’ll see in this story about an honest employee named Brenda Harry.
Honest people are a boon to business
After the closure of the furniture factory where she had been working for twenty years , Brenda Harry found a minimum-wage job at the Goodwill Store and Donation Center in Pearisburg, Virginia (population 2,786). Her job was to process clothes and other items that people deposited in collection boxes around town. She ensured they were in good condition and that the donors hadn’t left anything in the clothing.
Most of the time, the pockets were empty, but one day in January 2014, she discovered four envelopes inside a suit jacket. Those envelopes contained $3,100 in cash. This was more than she made in two months of full-time work at Goodwill. If she had pocketed it, no one would have known. But Brenda Harry immediately turned the money over to her supervisor.
Photo by SHVETS production