employee has liedYou have an employee who has lied to you. What do you do?

Most of us, when faced with this situation, employ a very common, yet very limiting, strategy. We take a kind of “proportional response” approach when an employee lies to us. When someone calls in “sick,” only to be found at the golf course an hour later, we give them a stern look. When someone is found ‘enhancing’ their expense report, they get a slap on the wrist. And it takes a truly dramatic falsehood to warrant us actually terminating someone’s employment.

As harsh as it sounds, the only appropriate and effective response to an employee who lies to you, whether it is a ‘little white lie’ or a bald-faced doozie, is to set that employee free. No second chances. Yup, you heard right: Fire him. Let him go. Release him. Terminate him. Sack him. Lose him. Give him the boot. Whatever words you use to describe it, or legal hoops you have to jump through to get there, cease his employment with your organization as soon as you can.

Lack Of Trust Is a Workplace Killer

Participants in our internal customer service programs consistently identify “lack of trust” as the single greatest roadblock to effective teamwork. Trust in the workplace can only be established through complete honesty and openness from each team member. And, as a manager, the only real tool you have for establishing a trusting atmosphere is to not accept ‘conditional honesty’ – either from your employees, or yourself.

All it takes is for you to let one person get away with one falsehood to compromise all of your other team efforts. Yes, it is one of those difficult “tough love” things, but the end result is always positive.

Good Luck!

[This is from the Archive Project – where we are attempting to get 10 years of Winning at Work on the web! Original publication date: 7 November, 2004]

Shaun Belding is CEO of The Belding Group and has been consulting and speaking on customer experience, employee engagement and workplace performance for 23 years


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