Seven Proven Strategies for Dealing with Liars
Leaders lie because they don’t care enough to tell the truth. It’s too much trouble convincing know-it-alls, for example, so they smile and let them believe they’re right. They say, “That sounds fine.” But they’re shading the truth.
Image source by George Hodan
Leaders lie to:
- Build image.
- Save face.
- Prevent turmoil.
- Solve conflict.
- Distract or misdirect.
- Manipulate others.
- Protect information.
- Put others down.
- Elevate stocks.
- Deceive themselves.
Bonus: Lying leaders pretend they know when they don’t. (One of the dumbest lies.)
Three truths about liars:
- Leaders believe lying is wrong but do it anyway.
- Lying is always about some form of advantage.
- Liars place their interests ahead of yours.
Bosses promise raises but don’t intend to deliver. Employees say they’ve done it when they haven’t. (See: The first lie I told at work.)
Seven strategies for dealing with liars:
- Act quickly. Time is the liar’s friend.
- Develop skepticism. Always begin with empathy, but, tender hearts are vulnerable to lies.
- Be interested. Expose liars by asking questions like: How do you know? Who did you speak with? When did that happen? Who was there? What happened next?
- Include others. Don’t talk to liars alone, have witnesses.
- Validate by communicating with email.
- Protect yourself. Don’t lie but don’t tell everything, either. Vulnerability is stupid when dealing with liars.
- Confront liars you love. I know, we’re supposed to love everyone. Don’t lie to yourself, you don’t.
Cultivate transparency – speak publicly – avoid unnecessary secrets. When it comes to accountability, go public with, who does what by when.
How can leaders deal with liars?