We all expect a certain amount of falsehoods and porkie-pies being spouted in the workplace, but if you have serial liars in your business, you have a serious problem. While a white lie about someone’s new haircut is not a big issue, the lie that gets a colleague thrown under a bus is another issue.
A liar is interested in just one thing. They want to maintain the appearance of professionalism, while their sole purpose is getting ahead at work. When you tell a lie you often have to tell another lie to cover for the first lie, and so on. This web of lies will often get you caught out but this is when a skilled liar will seek someone out to blame for their own mistakes.
By doing this a liar is creating a toxic environment for everyone. It undermines those around them and leaves colleagues feeling on edge as they try to guard themselves from being the victim next time. This toxic environment leaves employees feeling paranoid and fearful of their jobs.
While you may like to think this is a rare occurrence, it sadly isn’t. In fact research in America showed that corporate liars are most prevalent in bigger corporations where departments and accountability is vastly segregated. A survey by Dr Brad Blanton, a physiotherapist found that 93% of respondents admitted to lying regularly and habitually in the workplace. Another study found that the majority of lawyers see lying or ‘low level deception’ as simple part of the game of negotiation.
Below we have put together some things you need to look out for to spot a liar in your business. While there are no concrete ways of spotting a liar, these are some basics that you can watch out for.
- Ask neutral questions about the lies you have heard.
- Find the hole in the lie and confront the liar on this hole.
- Watch the liars body language as they realise they may have been caught out.
- Look out for any micro-facial expressions that may show they are lying.
- Listen to the tone, speed, volume and sentence structures; is this how they normally speak?
- Watch for when the liar stops talking about themselves, who they talk about instead, who and how.
Remember, our team of professional HR Consultants here at Aspire Cambridge are always here to help you uncover any ill behaviour by employees in your workplace. If you need our help you just have to ask, contact our team on 01223 855440. We promise, no lies!