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Why does lying exist in the workplaceWhy Lying Exists in the Workplace

Recent surveys have shown that approximately 15 percent of employees in today’s businesses have been caught lying while at work.  Strangely enough, this isn’t always done with malicious intentions.  In fact, it is common for lying to occur in order to keep the peace, and enable employees the opportunity to make up for some shortcoming or error that has occurred.  This does not at all justify the dishonest actions of these employees, but to understanding why lying exists in the workplace is the first step to properly managing it.

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I work with two people that lie constantly. The boss is somewhat aware but has no replacements. Our manager and their team are more aware and can not stand either one of them. I feel like I have to police these two since I'...
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A very common reason causing employees to lie at work has to do with appeasing customers – this is the motivation for lying in 26 percent of all cases. Covering up for failed projects and mistakes is the second most common reason for lying at work, making up 13 percent of all the lies told. 8 percent of the lies at work are done in order to explain tardiness and absence.  Another 8 percent will are lies that are told to cover up for another employee, whereas 5 percent are lies told with the intention of getting other employees in trouble or to look better than other employees in front of management.

However, the most common reason for lying at work is to change the subject or avoid a topic.  This includes denying knowledge of an event or situation, saying that a call will be returned, claiming that another call is coming through, or even that they were not present when certain information was sent out.

What these employees don’t seem to understand is that in the business world, honesty truly is the best policy.  Even lying for the best possible intention can result in compromised credibility, questioned integrity, and negatively impacted business success with co-workers and clients alike. 

Consider that 85 percent of hiring managers claim that they are less likely to offer a promotion to an employee who has been caught in a lie either to them directly or to other employees of the business.

Honesty is often not given the credit it deserves among employees.  An honest employee’s credibility and integrity speaks for itself, allowing that person increased opportunities, and greater flexibility within the business, since the honest employee has proven his or herself. Furthermore, even if it seems as though lying will make life easier – especially in a situation where punishment could be a risk, or where a customer is upset – it will more frequently only make things more complicated. 

Not only does the lie need to be believable, and often needs to be proven, but it also needs to be remembered, down to the most miniscule detail, otherwise, it can come back to haunt the liar in the long run.

Though it may seem a bit tired to say that honesty is the best policy, it truly is.  No matter the business or the position, it makes life easiest to live.


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