Insightlink Home

Employee Surveys Blog

Should You Quit if Your Boss Lies to You?

Posted by Insightlink on 06/23/16

We recently heard a story that brought to light how one lie can erode your best retention efforts and send your best employees out the door.

A campus hire at a top tier company was overlooked for a special high profile meeting. When confronted, the employee's manager, did not have the answer, and chose to lie about it instead explaining/lying that she was not invited was because she was too new to her role.

The employee discovered this was a lie because other new hires who had been in their role even less time had been invited. It was discovered that HR made an error and should have invited this employee and they were indeed sorry. The manager also apologized to the employee but the damage had been done. 

Up until this incident the employee was a dedicated, highly engaged member of the team with an unrivaled performance record. Being lied to her by her manager broke trust and this was a huge and unexpected betrayal…in her own words, she 'will forgive but she won’t forget'. If she leaves over this incident the company will end up losing a valuable new hire and their investment in hiring and training will be wasted. 

As it happens in most situations like this the employee will move on but what about the manager?

What can you do when a manager lies?

In most cases, lies take place because the manager tries to protect him/herself. The fact that fear drives deception does not excuse it, but complicates matters which is why if a manager lies he/she needs to understand why and what it is they fear so they can address their own issues and avoid harming relationships with the people they work with.

Common fears are:

1. Fear of being known completely
2. Fear of being judged, controlled, or taken advantage of
3. Fear of being seen as bad or not good enough if some weakness or failure is known
4. Fear of their own desires, needs, and feelings

We have numerous clients using our Exit system and bad managers are frequently cited as the  key reason employees quit their jobs. This tells us firsthand how important it is that every employee feels their boss has their back, at all levels. Once trust is lost, employees may never trust their boss again, they won’t be as willing to give their all and they are most likely having thoughts or are in the process of planning their way out.

There are documented ways to tell if someone is lying to you. Pamela Meyer is the author of Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception. She states that lying is a cooperative act, that its power emerges when you agree to believe the lie. To this end she wants to help people identify lies because, while some white lies are socially acceptable, many are not. It takes a strong person to face a liar which is why many of us let them go unchallenged but if you want to be empowered and you want to be known as a person that doesn’t stand for being lied to, Meyer has some scientifically tested advice and a list of behaviors that will let you know if a person is being dishonest. This list is compiled from research on facial recognition techniques and interrogation methods drawn from police academies, intelligence training programs, and institutions of higher learning.

These behaviors include:

  1. Looking you in the eye for too long (on average, people who are telling the truth make eye contact only about 60% of the time)
  2. Sitting very still – or moving only a single body part (like a bouncing knee or a twitching hand)
  3. Shrugging one shoulder
  4. Wearing a frown or smile that is asymmetrical
  5. Touching the mouth or eyes quickly in a fidgety fashion
  6.  A flash of surprise or anger which is suppressed quickly
  7.  Repeating phrases or questions (in an attempt to stall for time)
  8. Speaking more deliberately and slowly than normal – or talking too much
  9.  Issuing worthless statements and denials (like "I was busy" or "What exactly do you mean?")

So if you think your boss is lying to you and your personal lie-detector starts going off, what action should you take?

According to Meyer:

  1. Don’t call your boss a liar to their face. It won’t accomplish anything and will just increase tension.
  2. Do it face to face. Scientists have determined that most lying is done over the phone. And it's also easy to be dishonest in an email so sitting down privately may help you get the truth you seek.
  3. Assemble evidence. Gather the facts in writing if possible. And observe the behavior of the suspected liar – and ask other employees about the situation if you can.
  4. Follow through. If you find out your boss has lied to you, take action. If you don’t you are giving the message that lying to you is okay…you give the lie power when you accept it. By confronting the lie and challenging it, you are defending your right to the truth. Your boss may ignore this request and eventually you may be forced to resign. On the other hand if this is handled with respect (both ways) your relationship could be made stronger. Establishing boundaries is a healthy human way of relating to others in all the parts of our lives including where we work.

Distrust can spread through a company like a virus creating huge unwanted problems that you'll have to allocate time to dealing with. It’s worth making sure you know what is going on.

Insightlink has been helping organizations understand why people are leaving using their proprietary Exit system for almost two decades. To find out more please contact us at or or call us 866-802-8095 ext 705.


comments powered by Disqus

Employee engagement is linked to profits
Employee Survey Demo
Employee Survey Pricing

Where does your company stand on each of the critical "4Cs" of employee engagement and satisfaction?
  • Commitment
  • Culture
  • Communications
  • Compensation
Find out with a benchmarked and validated 4Cs Employee Survey from Insightlink. Since 2001, one of the most trusted research companies in North America.

How many of each do you have?
  • Committed Loyalists
  • Change Seekers
  • Dissatisfied Compromisers
  • Satisfied Opportunists
Only the Insightlink 4Cs Employee Survey can give you the full picture and let you hear how your employees feel about their experience at your organization.


Insightlink Communications are experts in employee survey design, data collection and analysis. Since 2001 we've helped companies of all sizes measure and improve their employee satisfaction and engagement.

4Cs Blog Home

4Cs Blog Archives

Recent Posts

Enhancing Team Dynamics: Creative Strategies for Boosting Collaboration in Your Workplace

Building a Resilient Organizational Culture through Employee Programs

Why Friendships at Work Matter for Employee Engagement

Elevating Employee Engagement: Financial Training for a Happier, More Productive Workforce

5 Reasons Why LinkedIn Will Revolutionize Recruiting Process

Favorite Links

Employee Survey
Insightlink's Acclaimed 4Cs Employee Survey

Advanced Online Survey Platform for Pros

Quick & Easy Online Surveys

Home of the Gallup Q12

World at Work


Insightlink on SHRM

Engaged Employees Blog

HR ToolKit Guide to Employee Surveys
Good info on how to write surveys.

Insightlink 360
Makes 360 assessment surveys easy.

Online Employee Exit surveys.


Copyright © Insightlink Communications. All rights reserved.