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5 ways to catch colleagues lying

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Colleagues often say “nice” things to one another to maintain a harmonious office.

You might have already heard these top 10 lies you often hear at work from your co-workers, they might have been out of courtesy, but at some point we have all lied. It is always important to be able to spot liars at work to avoid running into trouble.  PayScale shared these five ways to help you tell if someone is lying to you at work.

1. The long pause
If you ask a colleague a simple question like “Did you finish that report last night?” and they took a while to respond, there might be something fishy going on.  If they have to stop and think before answering, it is likely they are thinking of an excuse to explain why the report has not yet been completed.

2. Inconsistent Details
If someone is not telling the truth, there is a high chance that he or she is going to miss out on some details.

“When you want to know if someone is lying, look for inconsistencies in what they are saying,” Former federal agent J.J. Newberry told WebMD.

When being pressed for details again and again, and the story shifts, it’s likely to be a lie.  Also if someone said they acted in a way that doesn’t make sense, be suspicious of their story.

3. Read their body language
They can be making rapid head movement or excessive eye contact.  They might also instinctively cover their face or mouth with their hands, or even compulsively touching their neck or nose.

They might clear their throat or swallow hard like a cartoon bunny. And yes, liars do sweat a lot. Look for these clues and you might be able to spot a liar.

4. Key words to look out for

In a TED Ed talk- The language of lying, Noah Zandan points out the ways that many famous celebrities, including past U.S. Presidents, have been caught lying to the public. He points out that you can always look out for certain ways of talking that is suspicious:

Minimal self-reference
Negative language
Simple explanations
Convoluted phrasing

5. The science of lying
In a 2005 study, researchers Yaling Yang and Adrian Raine from the University of South Carolina found liars’ brains are wired differently.

Specifically, liars had a 22% increase in prefrontal white matter compared to normal controls. Liars had a 14.2% decrease in prefrontal gray matter compared to normal controls.

Having more white matter may provide liars with the tools necessary to master the complex art of deceit, Raine said.

“Lying takes a lot of effort,” he said. “It’s almost mind reading. You have to be able to understand the mindset of the other person. You also have to suppress your emotions or regulate them because you don’t want to appear nervous. There’s quite a lot to do there. You’ve got to suppress the truth,”

Pathological liars have a surplus of white matter, the study found, and a deficit of gray matter. That means they have more tools to lie coupled with fewer moral restraints than normal people, Raine said.

To a certain extent, everyone lies at work.  While it is tough to deal with liars as the workplace, finding out the truth might have be the smartest thing to do.

When dealing with liars at work, try to record the details and then speak to a superior about it.  If there is no other way to resolve the situation,

ALSO READ: 10 ways to tell if a candidate is lying

Photo/ 123RF

Human Resources magazine and the HR Bulletin daily email newsletter:
Asia's only regional HR print and digital media brand.
Register for your FREE subscription now »

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