Lies, manipulation and psychological stress in the office: 3 tips against daily job madness


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Text comes from: Bin ich denn der einzige Normale hier? 101 Tipps, wie Sie den täglichen Bürowahnsinn überleben (2010) from Albert J. Bernstein, published by Münchener Verlagsgruppe (MVG), Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.
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At work, people who say what they mean and mean what they say are about as rare as white tigers. Here are a few ideas on how to deal with employees who don't take the truth too seriously.

Lies, manipulation and psychological stress in the office: 3 tips against daily job madness

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Albert J. Bernstein, PhD, is a psychologist, bestselling author, and expert in conflict resolution.

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1. Fraud or just an outright lie?

Chris did it again. He's the golden boy from the sales department and tells customers everything just so they can put their signature on the dotted line and he'll get his sales quota. He knows the turnaround time for orders is close to two weeks, but he told everyone that you can have it shipped in two days. You've already had four angry calls this morning from customers wondering why you're lagging, and there's an email from the sales manager asking about "delivery issues."

How to keep your sanity in a crazy corporate culture

You spoke to Chris and he swears stone and leg that he told all customers how long it would take for their delivery to be on the way. As if that ever happened! You have spoken to your boss about it, but there is nothing he can do about the matter. What really drives you crazy is how Chris can get away with outrageous cheating every time - and even get praised for it.

Fraud or just plain outright lie, Chris can get away with it for the simple reason that he generates revenue. In many companies, selling is the most important function. As long as Chris' numbers are good, management will not ask how and at what cost these numbers came about. This is unfair, myopic, and quite simply wrong, and there isn't much you can mind undertake can - but you can learn from it. For this reason, Chris' scams are a good place to start our reflections on how to use common sense in a crazy corporate culture.

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Confrontation doesn't get you anywhere

Because there is absolutely no prospect of success if you confront Chris the wrong way in the hope that his guilt will lead him to stop lying and become a good citizen. Chris probably assumes he's doing everything right as he's been praised by his boss for his impressive sales figures. Even if Chris thinks he's doing something wrong, he will never admit it to you.

In addition, by confronting Chris, you put Chris in a position where he would have to admit his wrongdoing so that you can get what you want - namely a little more honesty with the customers. This is an extremely difficult negotiating position as most people would rather kill you than admit they are wrong, not to mention the grievous bodily harm they would take in order not to lose their commission or bonus .

Dealing with liars and cheaters: 4 steps to the goal

While maybe it shouldn't be, there isn't anyone in your company whose job it is to tell Chris the truth. If you bother your boss about it, his boss, or (God forbid) the CEO, you're more likely to get in trouble for telling than he is for his lies. The following steps are more effective.

  1. Paying for other people's scams. So how do you deal with Chris (or someone else's) dishonesty yourself? Set your own goal. We already have evidence that you will not be able to get Chris to stop defamatory fraud. A more realistic goal is to limit the harm of its duplicity to you. All of your pursuit should be directed towards this.
  2. Spoon out the soup that you haven't made yourself. In the case of the calls coming in today, all you can do is apologize politely for the misunderstanding and let the customer know when their order will actually arrive. You may be tempted to downplay the process a little. Don't do this. If you can't be too specific about the truth, which we all do from time to time, then you'd better exaggerate. The customer will be pleasantly surprised when the delivery arrives early.
  3. Look for the pattern. Your best weapon against future harm is knowing that most naughty behaviors follow predictable patterns. Chris will lie again. The first time he still blinded you, but the second time you should be prepared for him.
  4. Move to the side. Your most effective strategy is to find a way to get out of the uncomfortable position between the liar on one side and the lied to on the other. You could send a courteous informational email to each customer regarding the estimated time of arrival as soon as the order appears in your system. The e-mail should indicate that the seller in question, whose address and telephone number you have kindly enclosed, will be happy to answer any questions you may have. The more automated this process appears, the better it will work. Furthermore, you would do well to send the email from an account to which the customer cannot reply.

2. The dog ate my homework

Joey, the clunk from marketing assigned to your project, should be working on the PowerPoint presentation for next week. He claims to be almost done, but you have your doubts. It has already thrown a spanner in the works.

Zero problem or all nonsense?

All they have to do is let you know in advance that they won't be ready by the deadline and you do the work yourself. You've already done most of the work yourself.

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You keep asking how things are going, and he always replies: "No problem!" But you have a problem. Joey is the typical "the dog ate my homework" liar. He would say anything he could to avoid a confrontation. His overly transparent maneuvers of deception are hardly worth calling a lie.

A ten year old's foresight

They are spontaneous, rarely planned in advance. Joey doesn't do anything in advance. Just like a ten-year-old, he thinks no further than from now to now, without realizing that his current hypocrisy will result in much greater confrontations in the future.

Then, when that future comes, he will apologize for messing things up and promise it will never happen again. But it will happen again - and you know that.

Hitting Bad Liars at Their Own Arms: 7 Tips

Forget the dog, get your homework. Here are a few ideas on how to avoid letting bad liars drive you crazy with the blow of a joey:

  1. Make the situation clear to yourself. The problem is immaturity, not infidelity. At some level, Joey is a ten year old. He lives in the moment, takes the easy path and just ignores anything that could cause trouble. You may now feel pressured into telling him, like his parents, that it is his lies that will keep getting him into bigger trouble than if he just didn't finish the PowerPoint presentation. But you didn't believe that saying yourself when you were ten years old, and it is the same with Joey. Immature people have only a vague idea of ​​cause and effect and have very limited prospects of the future.
  2. Punishing doesn't help. Just like a real ten year old, he will not be caught up in holding him accountable or in any way punishing him. That will only teach him that he is bad or that you are mean. But he already knows that. He will not learn anything from your lectures or his own mistakes except that he is a failure, which he willingly admits because that is easier than tackling the real problem. It is important, in the case of Joey and all the other difficult people in your office, to keep in mind that these people are difficult because they think differently from you. What works for you is likely to be of no use to others.
  3. Never ask why. Adult people are punished by guilt. If you made a mistake and someone asks you why you did what you did, then the shame of admitting your mistake and the harm you did to others should make sure that You are more careful in the future. Shame does not appear in Joey's vocabulary, however. As soon as you ask him why he hasn't done his job, he'll come up with some flimsy excuse. Perhaps he says that it wasn't really his fault as nobody gave him the information he needed. This could get you into an argument about who gave them what and when, but it won't get your PowerPoint presentation going any faster, and it won't change Joey's view of things.
  4. Let him show, not tell. Don't give Joey a chance to lie, the PowerPoint presentation (or anything else) will finish. Ask him to show you his work and let him make up an excuse for it not being done yet. This approach minimizes the damage by giving you more useful information and ample time to do the job yourself if necessary. If you want someone like Joey to do their homework, you have to sit them at the kitchen table and watch them, just like you would an unwilling ten year old. You have to stop by the office often to check that he's doing his job and not surfing the net. It's probably easier to do your own job right away, and that's what he relies on. If you're in the unfortunate position of overseeing someone like Joey, nothing works better than frequent sampling.
  5. In case you are not in control, becoming a Jewish mother gives you control. If a liar like Joey is your equal in the food chain or is above you, then you must be in casual power. Learn from the example of an expert, my mother. Create feelings of guilt by eating. Schedule meetings about work progress and always bring something to snack on. A crook like Joey and even a bastard like the IT guy who is never there when something needs to be fixed would have trouble eating your food and nothing to show off.
  6. Get everyone involved. Send emails about how the project is going and who is doing what as if sending reports on how your grandchildren are doing at school. The section on the liar is the shortest, and his pitiful excuses are highlighted - something like this: "Poor Joey works so hard, but the dog keeps eating his homework." My mother would say, "I'm just telling people what happened." Stick to it.
  7. Wrestling. The Eskimos have hundreds of words for snow, and Yiddish has almost as many words for nagging. Scribbling is gentle and persistent. Keep mentioning what needs to be done, making it very clear that you will not stop until it is done.

3. Morbid and Pathological Liars

“Byron, Eddie from GOCO called me. He is beside himself. He says he emailed you two weeks ago to cancel his order. ”“ I didn't get an email. ”“ He says he has a confirmation email from you. ”“ Never . Somebody else must have sent them off. "

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Sick liars communicate differently

Chris and Joey's lies are annoying, but Byron's are really damaging. Chris may exaggerate and cover his tracks, but Byron blatantly bends the truth for himself and to the detriment of others. He promises deliveries to customers even though he knows exactly that they cannot be delivered, and he also delivers in the event of a cancellation if this would reduce his commission. He insists that a return will take too much time and cause too many problems. He also lies about his working hours, whereabouts while at work, his personal life, and just about anything else you can think of.

Sick liars don't see communication like normal people do. For most of us, our words are designed to convey more or less accurate information. For morbid liars, every word spoken is simply a way of having an effect.

Arouse sympathy at any cost

Byron like liars try to convince you how cool they are by telling you they go to parties with rock stars and sleep with the gorgeous woman next door. They try to arouse your sympathy by confiding in you that they have been diagnosed with a terrible disease or have been exposed to unimaginable abuse in their childhood. Nowadays, almost all morbid liars were out and about with big boys as adolescents.

After a few such aha experiences you ask yourself what you should absolutely! - whether any of what these people say is true. Stay skeptical because this is one of your best ways to defend yourself. It's tempting to attribute pathological lying to low self-esteem, but that won't really get you anywhere. Low self-esteem can "explain" pretty much all mental disorders.

Ask what people do - not why

But any approach that explains everything ultimately has no meaning. Understanding what difficult people do and how they do it is far more constructive than asking why. The most important approach in relation to morbid liars is that they, unlike you, do not think in terms of truth or falsehood, but only think about the momentary effect their words could have on you. Lies and truth are important moral terms that mean a lot to people like you, but they carry far less weight to liars. This dichotomy makes liars dangerous.

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When we pretend, we feel appropriately guilty; a little white lie that doesn't hurt anyone is easier to accept than a big lie that harms everyone. Morbid liars don't see these differences, so they don't feel guilty. If anything seems suspicious to you about what a liar like Byron might tell you, question the whole story. This advice does not apply to the "dog-eat-my-homework" type of liars we discussed in the previous section. They choose the easiest route and rarely muster enough energy to come up with credible excuses.

Debunking Pathological Liars: 4 Tips

He lies when he opens his mouth. Here are a few suggestions on how to protect yourself from sick liars:

  1. Listen to your gut. When you feel like something is wrong, this is usually the first sign that someone is lying. Pay attention to this feeling, as it usually comes from a subconscious analysis of what someone is saying. Once you're wondering if a story is true, it probably isn't.
  2. Do things go together? When a person is telling the truth, the content and form of what is said generally fit together and the body language underlines this. As soon as people lie, these aspects no longer relate to each other. They smile as they tell a sad story, or they stare as they affirm their love.
  3. Pay attention to body language. Many liars are masters of controlling their facial features. Most people believe that if you lie, you can't look you in the eye. That view is simply wrong. Liars are often very good at holding your gaze without even blinking an eyelid. Too much eye contact is a clearer sign than none at all. The facial features reveal lies even less well than the movements of the rest of the body. While liars speak, they are prone to unusual movements of the hands, especially the feet. No single sign is definitive evidence that someone is lying. Intuition is usually superior to conscious analysis in detecting the fraud.
  4. Watch out for any inconsistencies. One more point to keep in mind: Liars tend to have great ability to figure out what you want to hear. If something sounds too good to be true, it's not true. Pay close attention to details. Liars are more likely to pay attention to the big thing than the small details, especially when their story is drowned and lies. Most of the time they get tangled up in information about who, what, where and when, especially when they tell the story again. That is why police interviews always contain the same questions about the details. If you ever have to interview a liar, do like the police and keep grazing the same area.

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