strategies for dealing with a liar in the workplace(14 Posts)
Has anyone else had to deal with a pathological liar at work.
I manage a small team in what is effectively a small business. One of my team constantly lies about a colleague who is the same grade as her. As we are in a healthcare setting, I have to follow these, often petty, lies up. She has progressed to telling lies which could have serious consequences for her colleague. I have put various measures in place to try to stop this with little success. Last week I got very close to losing my temper with her which is obviously not ideal. Can anyone give me some help in determining the best way to deal with this? We have no HR and my line manager has been no help (employer and line manager aware)
Make sure she puts her complaints/lies in writing.
Start building that paper trail as you may well need it.
Might make her think twice about causing mischief if it's in black and white and signed by her.
If you can prove she has falsely accused a colleague, wasted everyone's time on investigation, etc. there must be consequences surely?
Have you formalised the process of following up her allegations? I'm not an expert but suggest you'd need to do so. So each time she brings something up, put down in writing with her what she's said and get her to agree to it. Make it aware that you are obliged to follow these things up, and also that making repeated allegations which are not proving verifiable could be interpreted as workplace bullying on her part. She needs to be disincentivised for coming up with any old shit, and made aware that doing so can have consequences for her.
God, that's so helpful, thank you!! I haven't made this formal and I need to do so.
She is aware that I have to follow things up and she has not liked the consequences of me doing so but this has not stopped her. She seems to be completely bullet proof in this regard.
I will make management aware of my revised plans, they are supportive of my methods but will not advise or intervene.
I think it is important that she realises the consequences of her actions. Her colleague is getting very upset and her perception is that senior management is not bothered enought to deal with this.
I had not considered that this could be interpreted as workplace bullying. Its ironic as she herself has been a victim of bullying in the recent past. That colleague was sacked. It is now making me wonder how much was fabricated (I was not her manager at the time)
Has your workplace got some guidance manual for managing staff?
I am concerned you have nowhere at your place of work for advice/mentoring about this. It makes you feel alone and vulnerable, possibly not sure where you stand regarding employment law. That's not a nice feeling for you. You should be able to handle this feeling confident about the parameters you are working in and what back-up you have, etc.
Bear in mind, I have never managed staff and haven't the faintest about employment law and stuff. I am sure there are far more knowledgeable posters who hopefully will be along soon to advise.
She is aware that I have to follow things up and she has not liked the consequences of me doing so
I'll bet she hasn't! Gives her less wiggle room to backpedal when things don't go in her favour.
I will make management aware of my revised plans, they are supportive of my methods but will not advise or intervene
As I said before, I think you do need a mentor to help guide you with this. I'm surprised your line of command doesn't allow for this.
I think it is important that she realises the consequences of her actions
Her colleague is getting very upset and her perception is that senior management is not bothered enought to deal with this
I'm sure she is. It's so unfair and that colleague would be within her rights to raise a formal complaint herself.
I had not considered that this could be interpreted as workplace bullying
Yes, it could. I know if a colleague get making up lies about me and reporting me to the management to get me into trouble, I'd totally see it as bullying.
Its ironic as she herself has been a victim of bullying in the recent past
What were the circumstances/proof of that, do you know? It could be helpful here.
That colleague was sacked. It is now making me wonder how much was fabricated (I was not her manager at the time)
Hmmm. Does make you wonder, doesn't it? Could be that this person is a successful manipulator who has totally been taking advantage of the (what seems to my untrained eye) quite a lax management - I mean your managers, not you yourself -. to get away with all sorts, no questions asked and no consequences.
Having tasted success before, maybe she's ready to have another go.
I feel for you, it's a rotten situation to be in. Managing staff is never easy. I'd hate to have to do it.
Hopefully the colleague who is on the receiving end of these lies is keeping a paper trail herself?
My advice to cover yourself too is to summarise everything in a letter:
^You alleged that person A had done X, Y, Z, and my investigations were XX, YY and ZZ. The outcomes were XXX, YYY and ZZZ and therefore I am unable to corroborate your version of events.
I have summarises the above for clarity - please advise me as soon as possible if you feel I have captured any of the details incorrectly.^
This way, when you have a bundle of these summaries all saying there are no findings, she can't come back and say you've summarised them incorrectly. Just a thought.
Expose liars by asking questions like: How do you know? Who did you speak with? When did that happen? Who was there? What happened next? Take notes of everything they say and get them to sign it
Include others. Don’t talk to liars alone, have witnesses
Validate by communicating with email
Workplace Dangers Manipulative People
I would also email your managers and HR stating "I plan to deal with x making complaints against any colleagues by using the following protocol... bullet points. I ask that you confirm that you support this method by email by y date or give me an alternative suggestion"
Thank you to all of you, you have all suggested very useful things. Wish me luck, implementing new strategies as of today, haven't slept a bloody wink!!
Oh, good luck and do report back!
I really feel for you being in such a stressful situation.
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