Lying to Employees: Worse than You Might Think

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21 Feb 2012 | advertising, Blog, Brainworm™, Brands, Business, Christophe Johnson, eCommerce, Social Media, Trends

by Christophe Johnson | Brainworm Productions |

Sometimes workers act like children. Some come in off the street that way, but often it’s in response to a manager acting like a spoiled parent.

I see this in employees who are lied to by management more than anything. When employees see managers lie to clients, their bosses or whomever it causes distrust. Distrustful employees won’t be led, so managers resort to coercive management tactics. Driving employees rather than leading them causes more distrust which, in turn, cuases managers use increasingly harsh methods. Distrust and coercion feed off each other like warm air and hurricanes. Quick tips:

1. Don’t lie. This sounds easier than it is, but it’s essential. Employees aren’t dumb. They may not know what’s going on but they know when something’s up. I’m a big proponet of treating adults like adults. That’s not to say diplomacy and tact aren’t important. In fact, they’re not used as much as they should be. Showing respect, though, has nothing to do with keeping the truth from somebody.

2. Don’t sugar-coat. When I got my MBA I remember being told to sandwich bad news between two bits of good news. Make it palatable as possible, I was told. Bologna. Crap in a Christmas box is still crap. Putting a happy face on something not happy makes one look disingenuous.

3. Don’t hold out. I get companies have secrets. Some things can’t get out. Too often, though, secrets are used as a tool to ensure power stays with management. Let workers know as soon as possible. They know something’s up, anyway, and they’ll put the pieces together either correctly or incorrectly. I guarantee what they imagine will be worse than reality.

Management is either by engagement or coercion. Lying falls in the coercion category.


About the Author—Christophe Johnson has Masters Degrees in Business and Psychology and is an author, teacher, speaker, song lyricist and consultant with more than 15 years of experience. A teacher at heart, Christophe is currently writing “The Upside To The Downside”—an unconventional approach to business management. Christophe is the President and Co-Founder of Brainworm Productions, a strategic communications firm with locations in Orlando and Oklahoma City, with specializations in Social Media, Strategic Content Management and Consumer Behavior. Read more at

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