There are big lies, small lies, white lies, and boldface lies. They all have one thing in common: None should ever be used by a CIO to deceive staff, customers, or management colleagues.\n\nLying to yourself about the state of your IT operations is one thing \u2014 and can certainly get you in trouble. But the pressures placed on IT leaders these days can also invite CIOs to bend the truth about the state of their IT environments in hopes of giving an impression of being on top of everything \u2014 or at least to sidestep a difficult conversation.\n\nTelling the truth doesn\u2019t cost anything, but just a single lie could cost you everything, including your job and career. Here\u2019s a look at seven commonly told lies IT leaders should always avoid.\n\n1. \u2018IT always knows what\u2019s best for business\u2019\n\nWhile COVID-19 heroics put IT leaders in the business spotlight, elevating their prominence in the organization and cementing the importance of IT in enterprise planning, operations, and success, CIOs should never deceive themselves \u2014 or anyone else \u2014 into thinking that their department is the tail that wags the dog.\n\n\u201cThe best ideas are born out of collaboration, and that\u2019s why the IT function should act as a partner and consultant to the business, not an all-knowing entity,\u201d says Saket Srivastava, CIO at Asana, which offers a management platform designed to help teams organize, track, and manage their work. \u201cAsking, learning, listening, being curious, and adapting should be the main tools in any IT leader\u2019s toolbox to effectively co-create with key stakeholders and move the business forward.\u201d\n\nCIOs, despite their close involvement with all enterprise departments, aren\u2019t always privy to every team\u2019s challenges. \u201cAnyone who pretends to know all the answers, while avoiding the more difficult but rewarding work of learning and discovery, is missing out on the amazing ideas that may be only a conversation away,\u201d Srivastava says.\n\nNow, more than ever, IT leaders are responsible not only for IT systems, but also for business outcomes and meeting broader enterprise goals. \u201cAs such, IT should be considered as a trusted consultant group that\u2019s ready and available to help solve problems collaboratively,\u201d Srivastava advises.\n\n2. \u2018Everybody is replaceable\u2019\n\nThis lie is typically uttered as a threat: \u201cDo more work, do better work, pick up the slack, or quit.\u201d\n\nThe belief that team members can be bullied into working harder is toxic, creating a culture of fear and internal competition that\u2019s not sustainable. \u201cAs a leader, you will find yourself without a job due to high turnover and delays in projects and initiatives,\u201d warns Volodymyr Shchegel, vice president of engineering at cybersecurity software developer Clario. \u201cWhen you have people leaving due to poor leadership and feeling they aren\u2019t valued, you won\u2019t be able to foster knowledge sharing and team building, which are essential to sustaining long term IT projects.\u201d\n\nIT leaders who resort to threats and intimidation because their team seems \u201cout of control,\u201d should realize that it may actually be time for some serious self-exploration. \u201cYou must adjust your attitude and be more open to criticism and collaboration,\u201d Shchegel suggests. \u201cGreat leadership isn\u2019t about being better than everyone on your team; it\u2019s about assembling a team that has the best people for each job.\u201d\n\n3. \u2018We\u2019re now impervious to cyberattacks\u2019\n\nBelieving that your environment is completely secure is the same as assuming that a shield is mightier than an opponent\u2019s sword when that sword is evolving minute-by-minute, observes A.J. Lenkaitis, a senior consultant at cybersecurity and compliance firm BARR Advisory. But too often, given the pressure from executive leadership and boards these days, CIOs may be tempting to think so \u2014 or at least say so to colleagues inquiring about the state of the company\u2019s cybersecurity posture.\n\n\u201cHaving a closed-minded view is the best way to be blindsided by a new attack, often with drastic consequences,\u201d Lenkaitis says. \u201cNot only can this mindset ultimately lead to inappropriately-defined system boundaries and requirements, but it may also eliminate downstream controls that are vital to the organization\u2019s longevity.\u201d\n\nAssuming that an enterprise environment is totally impervious to attacks is highly dangerous because it removes the continuous improvement strategy that\u2019s required to stay resilient in a constantly evolving cybersecurity landscape. \u201cNew viruses, malware, and ransomware are specifically made to circumvent archaic cybersecurity controls,\u201d Lenkaitis warns. In today\u2019s environment, it\u2019s not a matter of if an attack will happen, but when. \u201cThe time and resources spent on counteracting future attacks pay immense dividends,\u201d he adds.\n\n4. \u2018Our technology is failure-proof\u2019\n\nThings break, and in most cases, it comes as a surprise. IT consists of many systems requiring different degrees of connectivity and monitoring, making it difficult to know absolutely everything at every moment. The key to minimizing failures is to be proactive rather than simply waiting for bad things to happen.\n\nCIOs should not only expect things to break but also be honest about this with their team members and business colleagues. \u201cEat, sleep, and live that life,\u201d advises Andre Preoteasa, internal IT director at IT business management firm Electric. \u201cThere are things you know, things you don\u2019t know, and things you don\u2019t know you don\u2019t know,\u201d he observes. \u201cWrite down the first two, then think endlessly about the last one \u2014 it will make you more prepared for the unknowns when they happen.\u201d\n\nPreoteasa stresses the importance of building and maintaining detailed disaster recovery and business continuity plans. \u201cIT leaders that don\u2019t have [such plans] put the company in a bad position,\u201d he notes. \u201cThe exercise alone of writing things down shows you\u2019re thinking about the future.\u201d\n\n5. \u2018The hybrid work model is just another fad\u2019\n\nWork has changed. \u201cIt\u2019s no longer a specific time and place, but an outcome,\u201d says Chris Anello, director of digital platforms at technology consulting firm iTech AG. The focus has shifted to how organizations support [workplace] changes and enable employees to continue to flourish and deliver on business objectives, he explains.\n\nAnello believes that IT leaders must accept the paradigm shift and invest in a digital transformation that supports the new work reality. \u201cLeadership must accept that we are not going back to the way of work before the pandemic and commit to the new work landscape,\u201d he states.\n\nIT leaders must openly communicate the reality of today\u2019s recast workplace and communicate to management colleagues the investments needed to support the new approach. \u201cAlthough the IT team will lead the technology efforts, an interdisciplinary team should work together to ensure everyone is aligned and sharing insights and feedback on what they need in order to succeed,\u201d Anello says. \u201cThis 360-degree view ... ensures that all perspectives are being considered to create a thriving enterprise built on a strong IT foundation.\u201d\n\n6. \u2018I\u2019m always available\u2019\n\nThis is a phrase leaders commonly say, both to the team members they manage but also to their business colleagues and upper management. But are you really sure of that? Probably not. Constant availability simply isn\u2019t possible, and an obviously hollow promise such as this creates unrealistic expectations among teams and management colleagues. IT leaders need to be honest about their availability and set realistic guidelines for holding one-on-one discussions.\n\nAlthough this lie sounds innocuous, it can actually be career-destructive because it creates an environment of constant expectation and pressure, says Farzad Rashidi, co-founder of Respona, a company that offers a link-building platform designed to increase traffic from Google.\n\nA better way to address personal availability is to be honest about your preferred access times and to set realistic expectations. \u201cIT leaders need to be able to take breaks and have a life outside of work,\u201d Rashidi observes.\n\n7. \u2018We\u2019ve ensured total data resiliency\u2019\n\nThis lie often emerges when an IT leader is questioned by management colleagues about the enterprise\u2019s data security status. Wishing to avoid the nasty and frightening fact that total data resiliency is impossible, the CIO hopes that the odds will be on his or her side, and that the security measures already deployed will be sufficient to protect the enterprise, its customers, and its business partners against a possible future data security disaster.\n\nFeeling under pressure, the nervous CIO assures management counterparts that all enterprise data is fully backed up and that there are also resilient copies of backup data available. Additionally, the restore process has been tested, and the ability to conduct a restore-to-business process is in place. In other words, everything is safe.\n\nIn reality, there\u2019s a giant gap between business leaders\u2019 expectations regarding technology resiliency and what many IT leaders have actually implemented for them, says Rick Vanover, senior strategy director for data management platform provider Veeam. \u201cInstead of overstating tech capabilities, IT leaders should ensure data portability, utilize ultra-resilient immutable backups of data, and implement recovery verification,\u201d he suggests. But never, ever promise total data resiliency.