By Lauren Groff, Guest Blogger –
As an employer, trust with your employees is everything. If they lie, at best it’s going to degrade that trust, and at worst it can be a danger to you and others. That’s why it’s so important to know if an employee is lying to you. Here are 6 ways to spot if an employee is lying:
1. Look For Signs of Stress
This is the most important thing about spotting a liar. If someone is telling the truth, they will appear to be relaxed. If they’re lying, then they’re going to be stressed. After all, they’re having to come up with a lie on the spot, which is a lot more taxing on their mind.
There are several physical gestures that can indicate someone is lying. For example, the employee ‘freezes’. This is the first response to stress, so if someone stops gesturing, holds their breath, or has a forced smile, that’s a sign of lying. Also, look for fidgeting gestures such as bouncing their heels or playing with jewelry, as they are also signs of stress.
2. Spot Fake Emotions
When someone is lying, they’re trying to fake the correct emotion for the situation. They know that it isn’t right, and that will come out in their expressions and movements. For example, if someone is smiling but their eyes don’t crinkle at the corners, that’s a sign that the smile is fake.
If you see an expression that’s held for more than a few seconds that’s also a sign of lying. Naturally, we only tend to hold expressions for a few seconds at most. If it goes on longer than that, the person in question is trying to convince you that they’re feeling that emotion.
3. Listen For Verbal Cues
As you’d expect, there are going to be cues in your employee’s speech that show you if they’re lying. For example, they may make qualifying statements such as ‘As far as I recall’ and ‘From what I remember, as they are subjective and give them an ‘opt out’.
There are also bolstering statements, such as ‘In all honesty,’ and ‘to tell you the truth’. These are used to overemphasize their honesty, but this can backfire on them.
4. Listen To How a Story Is Told
When someone is answering a question honestly, they’ll get right to the point. If you ask why they were late to work, they’ll say ‘My car broke down.’
If someone is lying, they’ll make the story much more convoluted and involved. They’ll also add in details that you don’t need. In this case, they may say ‘I was driving in up the highway and the traffic was really bad. I was stuck in the traffic when I realized the check engine light was on…’ and so on.
5. Check Their Attitude
Even if someone thinks they’re lying well, they may need to check their attitude. They may come across as whining or irritated, as if they’re annoyed, you’re even asking them about the situation. If you’re talking to someone who’s being honest, you’ll see that they’re on the same side as you. They’ll want to work with you, to correct the situation.
The liar, on the other hand, will be trying to get out of the conversation as fast as possible. They may give the impression that the situation isn’t a big deal at all.
6. Understand Your Employees’ Baselines
When trying to understand if an employee is lying, you do need to understand their baselines. The key to spotting a lie is in changes in someone’s behavior.
For example, you may have an employee that fidgets a lot normally. That on its own isn’t a sign of lying, but if that fidgeting increases while they’re talking to you, then it could be. Pay attention to your employees, so you can see how they behave normally. Then, you can spot if anything changes.
Now you have an idea of what to look for if you ever suspect that an employee is lying. One signal on its own isn’t always a sign, but a combination of signals will let you know that they are lying. Keep an eye out for them in your staff.
Lauren Groff is an editor with UK Writings, as well as a writer for OX Essays and Academized. In her work, she looks to inform readers about their rights and help them find the right representation. In her free time, she loves to read and travel.
Photo by /Ashcan Forouzani