Human beings have an innate sense of when people are not quite right. This is played with by fraudsters and con-men, but most of us can sniff a ‘bad-un’. This is an evolved capability, reading verbal and non-verbal signals. It is also based upon our previous expereinces of people (either a specific individual or groups of simialr types fo people). This can be conscious or unconscuious. We can make decisions obliquely and irrationally (Jacobs 2009; Peters, 2012).
Whatever it is, if we are given a chink of something to be suspicious about, we will be. In contemporary speech, a ‘bull****’ detector.
So this is the challenge for leaders: if you don’t believe it, don’t say it. Act with integrity. If you don’t, people will see straight through you anyway, most likely as not. So you will not win out in the long term.
Jacobs, C.J. (2009) Management Rewired: Why Feedback Doesn’t Work and Other Surprising Lessons from the Latest Brain Science. Penguin Group Portfolio, NY
Peters S. (2012) The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness. Vermillion, London.