Why your manager lies…

Lying is the attempt to say that something did happen when it didn’t or that something didn’t happen when it did. It is an alteration of the truth in order to avoid censure or punishment.

I am sure that you have figured out by now that some promises you were given when you started your present job are probably not going to be kept. I thought you might like to know why that happens and what you can do about it.

Most of us realize that hemming and hawing (dancing around the issue of merit increases or continuing employment) are a sign of the evasive maneuver known as stalling, which leads eventually to a flat denial that a promise was ever made. This is often followed by criticism of your work and a threat that you need to improve your attitude if you expect to continue as an employee.

Not all managers lie, by any means, but when they do it is a crushing experience that leaves you bitter and vowing never to be caught like that again. And you won’t be caught in that same way, but you will be caught in some other way by a manager who is ever so convincing until it’s time to pay up or give you the promotion. etc.

Managers lie for the same reason the rest of us lie, when and if we lie.  🙂  They are afraid to come clean with us.

Managers are no different than the rest of us. They lie because they
are afraid to admit that they promised something they never intended to
deliver. They are so ashamed of what you will think of them that they
lie. Isn’t that amazing?

Lying is the result of fear. Whether it is a child lying to you or a
senior executive, the mechanism is exactly the same. The person is
ashamed of what you will think of them, so they give you an answer that
will hopefully get you to go away and leave them alone.

Some people lie compulsively and it is a terrible thing to watch.
These people will say anything in order to escape scrutiny. After a
while there are so many lies piled up that they have very few things
they can tell the truth about.

These people know they are frauds and they bluster and swagger and
adopt all manner of stratagems to make you think they are people of
great integrity. They exude false confidence like a miasma of bad

This is the person who is compulsively performing a pitiful charade
in order to stave off the demons that lurk in every question that might
be asked of them. A simple question like, "Did you read my budget
request?" sets off an entire chain of evasive maneuvers or a tirade
because it threatens to uncover a bushel of omissions and cover-ups.

The closer one comes to uncovering their secrets, the more violent
their reactions will be. I had a vice-president pull me off a project
in the last few days before launch, because I inadvertently stumbled on
a deal she was working with a vendor. When I documented the situation,
the HR person assigned to me said, "You’re not implying that the Vice
President made a mistake, are you?"

Taking my cue from HR’s helpful hint, I refrained from blowing the
whistle and took my disciplinary action like a good little soldier and
decided that I really needed to be elsewhere. Perhaps somewhere saner.

If you are in good communication with someone who lies, you can try
to let them know that it’s not working. A gentle reminder can have an
amazing effect if you can do it in a non-threatening manner.

If you do not see a change for the better, you need to think about
severing your connection with this person, as you will be dragged into
situations where they will expect you to cover for them.

Even if you don’t cover for them, you may still get embroiled in the
situations they have created because you may end up trying to handle
the customer they lied to. Customer support people get a lot of this
when unscrupulous sales people mislead customers to make a sale.

The simplest solution is not to lie and not to associate or deal with those that do.

Life will be so much simpler that you will never look back.

This entry was posted in Basic Business Concepts. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Why your manager lies…

  1. Roberto Cruz says:

    I have the impression that you are writting my life, in December I left my “Corporate Life” because many of this things together, including manager lies. When your manager lies should be bad, but when he is the president of a big company, the things become worst, and if He try to you to lies too, well I end my corporate life with a 6 figures salary a promising career because I couldn’t lie more. I could not lie to customer, to employees to many people that he try me to do.

    I left the company voluntary, with out any compensation, because I can not follow their rules. For them the key is to save his face in from of the shareholders, in from of Walt Street.

    But, when you have the responsability to maintain the jobs for 100 people, to develop realible solution for customer you can not follow these rules.

    Why you didn’t write about this 3 years ago?


  2. Excellent Post David!
    That really helps me to understand and rethink a ton of issues that I have had with several managers over the course of my career. Thanks for spelling it out in such a clear and eye opening manner.

  3. My thanks to both of you. Your comments are a validation of the purpose of this weblog.

    Since I still have time to add this article to Danger Quicksand – Have A Nice Day, I will include your comments if you have no objections and you will get complementary copies of the book.

    Roberto, the reason I did not write this three years ago was I was still recovering from my own encounters with a culture that had gradually slid into this behavior.

    I am trying to make up for my earlier lack of warning by making my book available as a free download while I press ahead to get it printed.

  4. Roberto Cruz says:

    No problem at all.
    Dewayne, I think it’s not a problem of management it’s a problem of actituted and personality, the problem becomes when someone that have a lack of moral or transparency become a manager, I become a manager at 28 at IBM, there I found some “Manager” and great Managers. When you found a dead end Manager and he has a lot of power the problems become huge.


  5. Carrie says:

    You know, if I could get you and my trauma doc to team up, I bet my therapy would go a lot faster.

    Jeez David, this really nailed my ex-boss and a very close friend I’ve been avoiding…but felt guilty about avoiding. She does exactly what you write about, which is what my boss did, and his wife, etc etc etc.

    At this point I’m thinking naivete should be my middle name. Ugh. But at least, I think, I get it now. Thanks for this post. Sigh….sad as it is to realize the truth, it does need to be learned.

  6. David says:

    Morning David,

    As always another great post with much insight and wisdom. Please keep sharing.

    When I encounter managers and peers as you’ve described in this article. Faith and remembering this quote always helps.

    “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident.”
    Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher, 1788-1860

  7. TTT says:

    Thank you for your post. You are right. I took this job with the large and very successful company. I have a letter of intent from the big boss guaranteeing a full-time position in 90 days if I perform on the job. It has been 150 days and I still don’t have it. I noticed that there are many things about the company that make me wonder about their integrity, including placing me below the level that I was offered, even though the title is the same. Not being an employee eliminates an up to 25% bonus and all the financial benefits of leaving my previous job, but I am not even sure whether I want to be there. I am currently looking for another job but so far no success. And how do I know that the integrity will be there yet at another place? I am not even putting my name here as I am stressed out and fearful that I won’t be able to leave before their wrath comes upon me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

sixty ÷ six =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.