Common Workplace Lies

by | 22.06.23

In the workplace people fib, flatter, fabricate, prevaricate, embellish and bend the truth. They boast, conceal, falsify, omit, misinform and cover-up embarrassing acts. They lie in order to avoid accepting responsibility, to build status and power, to protect others from hearing a negative truth, to keep their jobs or to get on the good side of the boss. Some people are better than others at lying. If you are creative you are one of them. Workplace lies are common, from small everyday lies to big whoppers here are the most common:

Social lies

These are what forms a lot of workplace relationships. We couldn’t survive in business – or in society – without them. With social or ‘white’ lies as they are commonly called there is a deal struck between the liar and the lie-ee. You wont tell me the whole truth and I won’t scrutinize everything you say.

Exaggeration lies

These are very common and are the embellishments used when people try to appear more capable than they are. For instance if the boss asks whose organised work social events in the past I for one would say “yes I have” as it sounds like a wonderful thing to do.

Omission lies

These lies are meant to mislead others, by leaving out a critical piece of information you are letting the listener draw their own conclusion. For instance someone who has been sacked from their last job may omit to tell a new employer their reason for leaving.

Protective lies

Most people don’t like to hurt other people’s feelings so when someone looks awful or has done a job really badly this sort of person will lie so as not to hurt the individual concerned. At the end of the day no-one really wants to be hurtful.

Defective lies

These lies are usually told in an attempt to protect oneself or to avoid punishment. “it wasn’t my fault” is one of the most common sentences uttered in the work place. The second most common one is “I didn’t know that”. If it wasn’t your fault or you didn’t know you can’t get in trouble can you!

Blatant lies

Blatant lies are always exposed and because of that the liar is viewed as someone who thinks other people don’t have a brain. So don’t go boasting that you drive a Ferrari at the weekend when you drive a bashed up old Fiesta into work, you’ll only look like a big wally.

Destructive lies

These are really poisonous and can completely ruin workplace relationships. Destructive lies are more commonly told by line Managers. A good example of this is you ask for a pay rise only to be told the Company are cutting costs. Later you find out that other people in the department have received pay rises – this will destroy your trust completely.

Malicious lies

Gossip is horrible it undermines, harms and destroys people, it can also ruin someone’s career. Anyone who spreads malicious untrue gossip about a workmate deserves the sack. Malicious lies are usually told by someone who is jealous of the other person and are only told to cause hurt.

Small lies

These type of lies are easily forgiven and overlooked, for instance your boss might give you an earlier due date for the completion of a project, this is a fib, but your boss only told it because they want to ensure the work is completed on schedule. These are harmless lies and no-one worries about these.

Big lies

A big black lie is almost never forgiven and not forgotten. If your boss assured you that your position was secure and two weeks later you were made redundant you would never forgive them. Big lies where you are providing someone with assurance are not acceptable under any circumstances so never tell them.

Lying is normal, we all do it, some of us more than others and anyone who tells you they never lie is probably the biggest liar around. Just look at Boris Johnson and Donald Trump, world leaders, both of whom have been caught out fibbing, but if you do lie just be sure it’s a harmless lie which won’t hurt anyone.

Thanks for reading this.

Angela Burton