Advice

What Can You Do When You Catch Your Boss in a Lie? That Depends...

They lied right to your face, is quitting the only option?

So you caught your boss in a lie, probably work-related, and it will likely affect you if it has to do with you directly. Maybe you were promised a raise or promotion and were passed over, or maybe they gave you an excuse you later found out was total BS.

Now you’re in a sticky spot. You like the job, but why the lie?

There are two ways to handle the deceit, reports the Harvard Business Review, reactively or proactively.

“If you are in reactive mode, stay calm and be constructive. Breaks in trust are infuriating and hurtful, but they don’t entitle you to flame out, throw a fit, or stomp around rolling your eyes. Try to keep the steam from coming out of your ears,” they say.

Instead, weigh your options.

“If you confront your boss, you may poison the relationship forever. The same may be true if you go to someone else in the firm, such as HR or your boss’s boss. Think before you act, gossip, or complain. Have a hard conversation with yourself. Do you want to keep your job? Confrontation or sounding an alarm is not a good way to do that,” HR advises.

If you can find yourself another job quickly, feel free to confront your higher up. Just make sure his or her intentions weren’t actually meant to protect you.

“Never confront your boss alone if you suspect laws have been broken; always consult an attorney first,” say experts.

If you do talk to your boss, don’t ambush. “Use language such as ‘I might be seeing this the wrong way’ or ‘I understand that there may have been circumstances that prevented you from sharing all the details with me.’”

Interestingly enough, having good relationships at work make it harder to be deceived. It makes it harder for someone to lie and get away with it without you finding out, say workplace experts.

If your boss lies again, move on.

Workplace expert Alison Green advises that you find another job, then quit the one you’re in.

“Decent bosses — even most bosses who aren’t that decent — don’t yell at people or look for reasons to berate them…If it were just a matter of him occasionally exaggerating to the point of lying (saying ‘five people told me’ when it was only one), that would be annoying and unprofessional and even, I’d argue, incompetent. At best he’s a tyrant. At worst he’s outright abusive. Either way, he’s a jerk, this isn’t normal.”

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