Everybody lies, that’s a famous statement in the TV Series “House”, and in so many other studies. We lie about our age, background, relationships, health and social issues. Lying is just a mechanism that some people use to get away with a specific situation (temporary or permanently).
Ever since you were a kid, and growing year by year, you would start discovering that you can escape some situations if you simply told a lie, babies don’t lie, but at a certain age, they start realizing that they are capable of saying something that is different than the truth, and others may not notice.
TRUST ME I’M LYING
The impact of lying can sometimes not be very significant (like when a husband lie to his wife when she ask him about how does she look in a particular dress) or can be super significant (positively or negatively) when that lie reaches a whole new level (like creating a cult or a new religion… and needless to say, Politics and more).
In this article, I’m not going to go through the “Strategic Lies”, I’m just going to shed the light on few points that a manager can take notes of, and of course anyone for what that matters.
“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”Friedrich Nietzsche
Trusting the person after they have committed a crime towards your honesty, is very difficult. And a lot of actions can fall within the Lying Category (Cheating, deception and more…)
SYMPTOMS OF LYING
Luckily, spotting the (honest) liar can prove to be easier than some would think. As we are all humans, and no matter how great we are and how competent we are, we can (almost) never control our subconscious mind. So per example, you can raise your hand and clap your fingers whenever you want, but you cannot control when your pupils would dilate or when to start or stop sweating per example, as these are all control by your right brain which is (luckily again) the honest part of you.
Let me ask you this, if you child (or little brother) break something, and you confront him to do so… Most likely you would use a sentence like “Look me in the eyes and tell me if you did it”. It’s mostly because avoiding eye contacts is a very major companion to telling a lie.
Other symptoms, includes covering the mouth with your hand, scratching your head and – Believe it or not – scratching your nose because it becomes slightly bigger (do you remember the famous Pinocchio Story where his nose would grow bigger when told a lie?)
THE LIE FOR ME TEST
This week’s tip is about how to intentionally spot the liar in someone with whom you deal with, work with, or live with…
In a lot of movies, TV series, you would find couples spotting the lies of each others by suggesting specific gestures that the other person is doing and you often hear something like “You always do this thing with your ear when you lie”… So each person, mostly, have a gesture associated with lying. So all you need to do, is to get to know what this/these are.
I used this week’s tip/trick on multiple occasions with my employees, to understand how would they lie. Especially with those in key positions that is critical to me. When I first hired my executive assistant, which is a very tricky role in any organization, I needed to see how would she lie *if ever she had to*; And don’t get me wrong, Maryam (my Executive assistant at the time) was an ANGEL, she was very smart and exceptionally reliable; so I decided to test her;
The test was very simple, and should be harmless, I needed to check how would her facial expression be. When The phone rang, and I knew who was the person calling, I told her to tell them that I wasn’t in the office and that I mostly won’t be able to come today. The task was simple, but she wasn’t very prepared for such a thing… So her reaction was confusion all over her face and all types of gestures… But her voice sounded warm and confident.
And you could guess, that I repeated the same exercise multiple times (with slight changes) to see how would she get more comfortable to lying about that specific topic and then show her trademarked gesture… And then I noticed it… I can Proudly say that I never seen her trademarked gesture in my many years working with her, because she truly was one of the rare few honest people that you would be genuinely lucky to have her in your team. However I wish I can say the same about other members of my team over the years.
So my advice to you is to try to figure out (in your own way) how your key employees lie and then you won’t be surprised when it really Matters.
Have a wonderful week,
Samer Chidiac is a Strategic Innovation Advisor, a Business Psychologist, a Philanthropist, an Author and a Speaker.