How To Catch A Lie (And Resolve It!) In The Office

By Glenn Stearns
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How To Catch A Lie (And Resolve It!) In The Office

An open letter from Glenn Stearns, CEO of Kind Lending

I’ve got a story for you…

A man is out walking one afternoon by a little pond. He sees a young boy fishing under a ‘No Fishing’ sign. He goes over and asks the boy, “Can’t you read the sign?” The boy replies, “Oh I’m not fishing. I’m just teaching these worms how to swim.”

Cute, right?

We all tell little lies or embellish the truth. A University of Alabama study found that, on average, people only lie once or twice per day. And what’s the harm?

Most of us only lie when the truth would be hurtful or inconvenient. But, for most of us, lying

twice a day seems a little high, right?

Back to that University of Alabama study. I did a little digging and found that while yes, people lie twice a day, on average. Most people lie once or fewer times per day. That average is due to a handful of “prolific liars.” The top 1% of liars, told more than 15 lies a day, for multiple days!

It’s shocking, but there are people out there who shovel enough bull each day to open a manure plant. So, what do you do if you’ve got one in the office?

Why The Big White Lie?

According to the Harvard Business Journal, people lie in the workplace for one of three reasons.

Avoiding conflict, hiding their faults, and to make themselves look better.

Avoiding Conflict

We’ve all told lies to avoid conflict.

I don’t like sleeping on the couch, and I’m sure you don’t either, but that just won’t fly in the workplace.

If, like me, you have people working under you, you know that honesty is paramount to success.

If your team members aren’t honest with you because they’re afraid that you’ll react poorly to the truth, that’s a problem for both of you.

You need to take a serious look at your own behavior. If your team members are consistently afraid of how you react to bad news, that’s an adjustment that you need to make on your own.

And you need to make it fast.

If one team member is afraid of breaking bad news, then you need to assure them that they’re in a safe environment and that by being honest with you, they’re really helping everyone.

Especially themselves.

Hiding Their Faults

We’ve all been in over our heads at one point or another. So we can surely understand why someone would lie to try and cover their own ass.

Unfortunately, we can’t cut that person too much slack. They’re lying because they aren’t doing their job, and the longer this goes unnoticed, the more damage that’s being done to your organization as a whole.

If you find that someone is constantly lying to cover their faults, you need to figure out what’s going wrong. Open, honest discussion will prove the silver bullet on this one too.

Trust me, it might be difficult, but it’s best for both of you in the long run. Let the truth ride, underdogs!

Making Themselves Look Better

Ohhh, you gotta watch out for this one.

These are the folk that are most likely to fall in the 1% that I was talking about earlier in the University of Alabama study.

Here’s the problem though. It often doesn’t stop at lying to make themselves look good.

This kind of person will regularly lie to make their teammates look worse. Between spreading rumors and falsely accusing their coworkers of not doing their duties, if you have someone like this in your office, you need to address it. Pronto!

In short, pay attention to your team and take notice when the facts don’t quite add up.

Unlike the popular Jim Carrey movie of the same name, If you find a Liar, Liar in your workplace, follow the tips above to remedy the situation quickly and without major drama.

Though this may seem like a daunting task, I trust you. You’ve got this!

Stay honest, underdogs.

Signing off,