It appears many employees abide by the belief that a little white lie never hurt anyone, from embellishing how often they contact their clients to failing to say anything when others' ideas just aren't going to work.
Workplace experts spell out the extent to which employees lie or withhold information from their supervisors on a regular basis:
1. Good ideas
Kathi Elster, an executive coach and president of the management consulting firm K Squared Enterprises, said employees will often tell their bosses that they came up with a great idea for an upcoming project, when the idea actually came straight from a coworker.
"Many people take credit for someone else's ideas," Elster told BusinessNewsDaily. "They think nothing of it and just hope the person with the idea does not find out."
2. They hate their bosses
Employees are not likely to tell management that they don't like their boss or that they think their boss is a jerk, according to Asher Adelman, founder and CEO of eBossWatch.
But holding these thoughts in can have a destructive effect on the entire organization, Adelman said.
"This often has a negative impact on employee turnover rates as well as employees' levels of engagement, motivation and creativity," Adelman said.
3. Cold calls
Employees in sales regularly lie about the number of potential customers that they reach out to, said Leslye Schumacher, a talent analyst and management consultant for TalentQ.
"Rarely do sales managers have the time to actually double back and check if a particular company was contacted," Schumacher said. "I've had many salespeople refer to filling out call sheets as their 'creative writing assignments.'"
4. Looking for a job
Greg Szymanski, human resources expert with Geonerco Management, said workers often conceal the truth when asked if any of their coworkers are looking for new jobs.
5. Bad ideas
Vivian Scott, mediation expert and author of the 2009 edition of "Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies," says many employees are afraid to tell their bosses that one of their ideas simply isn't good.
"Many people are so afraid of rocking the boat, they put the entire ship at risk," Scott says. "I think most people feel they don't have the skills to convey a message like that, so instead they say nothing."
6. Manager's personal stories
Many workers will put on a false front that makes them seem interested in their boss' personal life, according to Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert and owner of The Protocol School of Texas.
"Your employee will lie to you and tell you it's okay for you to vent, but really they are extremely uncomfortable and wish you would find a new friend," Gottsman said. "While you may feel comfortable sharing personal information with an employee, such as results from your latest doctor's visit or how your mother-in-laws drives you nuts with her idiosyncrasies, it's stepping over the line and blurring professional boundaries."
Andy Satter, founder and CEO of the consulting firm Andrew Satter & Associates, Inc., said employees often lie about wanting to volunteer for special committees or task forces. While these workers may step up to the task with a smile in the end, they're likely feeling differently inside.
"The translation is, 'When can I possibly do this, because I'm already working a 60-plus hour work week?'" Satter said.
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