How To See Through a Lying Boss

  | 5 min read
Lying boss

Sifting through the lies

Lies are everywhere. It is not only politicians who tell lies. Even your boss could be the greatest liar and the tragedy is, just like in any other situation, these seemingly harmless lies could end up injuring your job, your performance, and your future prospects in that company.

Lying bosses are often fearful and they will prefer to tell you a lie as opposed to letting you know that the raise you want is not possible now, or that flexible working schedule is not feasible at the moment. They will tell you that your promotion is to be discussed yet they will not even bother to find out whether that promotion is possible. The thing is, that boss might be too scared to put their political capital on the line just to help you get what you deserve. So, the easy option is to simply tell you a lie to keep you happy for a while.

Here are signs that your boss could be a liar.

  1. Your boss does not seem to remember your discussion

Lying boss

Let’s say you recently discussed your new plan to start working remotely once a week and your boss said that they will bring this up at the next meeting with their manager. However, it has been a week since your boss had a meeting with the manager and he is not telling you about any progress. Then you politely follow up on the progress of the discussion d and your boss is having a difficulty in remembering your discussion. Well, this is a clear sign that the discussion never happened and it might never happen. Your boss might even tell you that the matter is being considered but this is just a lie to cover up for the initial one.

  1.  Your boss avoids using the first person

Naturally, your boss takes ownership of decisions and will usually use words like ‘I’ and ‘we’ but when he is trying to twist the truth, he will use ‘they’ or avoid using any person in the first place. People don’t like associating themselves with lies and difficult decisions. In fact, they will often deflect the commitment from themselves or distance themselves from sticky issues. Therefore, if your boss seems to be distancing himself from the matter being discussed, then you should know that what is being communicated may be heavily sugar-coated.

    3.  The body language

Body language

Non-verbal cues are often some of the strongest forms of communication. They convey messages which are not being stated blatantly and can also act as strong reinforcers to any message being communicated verbally. Thus, they act as strong lie detectors. If for example, your boss is finding it difficult to maintain an eye contact and using strong hard signals to drive a point home, then that might mean that he is lying and he does not want you to detect it on his face. In some cases, he might hold an eye contact for a longer period than necessary, he is probably trying too hard to prove that he is being honest.

Additionally, when your boss is being fidgety and using too much hand signals to communicate, it is a sure sign that he is not particularly being honest with you. Fidgeting is a way of conveying discomfort and it indicates that he is not very comfortable with the conversation at hand.

  1.  Using too many filler words

These include things like ‘eeeh’, ‘uuuhm’. They signify that your boss is trying to come up with a coherent trail of thoughts so that he can tell the lie. These words are used to kill the likelihood of an awkward silence which can always give room for you to develop doubts and are a sure sign that your boss is being economical with the truth. On the other hand, your boss might take to using non-committal words like maybe, in the best case scenario, and perhaps, because he does not want to tell you outright that what you are asking is not possible or that it won’t happen in the near future.

  1.  Avoiding your questions

If someone is lying to you, they wish that you do not ask a lot of questions because they will have to lie consistently in order to keep you happy. The problem is, lies often have inconsistencies. So, if your boss is lying, he is likely to avoid your questions and be very dodgy with answers, always trying to change the conversation. This is especially the case if you are seeking clarification on what has already been communicated. In some instances, he rushes through the answer so as to move on to the next conversation faster.

  1.  Your boss is being cagey with information

Maybe your boss is quite forthright with you and shares information liberally with you but on this particular issues, it feels like you have to work so hard to extract information from him. Even if he finally communicates, it is forced and quite unhelpful. Well, that is because he is not being honest and would rather gloss over the issue that come out straight and answer you accordingly.

A lying boss is often driven by several factors, most often being that he does not want to tell you that your requests cannot be honoured or that what you fear might be true. While knowing the truth can be hard, these signs are a good pointer if you suspect that your boss is not being honest.



Njeri Karanja
Njeri is a reading and creative writing enthusiast who is neck-deep in research writing. She is well versed in researching and writing on various topics.