Bob Goldman

You're really doing a good job. You have a big career ahead of you here. Your raise is in the works.

All these wonderful, workplace statements have one thing in common -- they're lies.

In today's world, it's difficult to tell truth from fiction. So many fantastical events are actually happening right before your eyes -- yes, Snooki is pregnant -- that it's difficult to identify outright falsehoods when they're happening right before your office door. (Assuming your supervisor has come through with her promise to give you an office door or for that matter, an office.)

If you believe that management is lying to you, you're probably paranoid, and if you believe that, you're probably crazy. I'm totally lying. Management really is out to get you. This is exactly why you need to cast an eyeball at Forbes.com, where you will find a nifty and necessary article by Carol Kinsey Goman, titled "12 Ways to Spot a Liar at Work."

Goman definitely knows her way around a lie. She always knows her way around a liar. As she explains, "For the vast majority of individuals you work with, the act of lying triggers a heightened stress response. And these signs of stress and anxiety are obvious, if you know where to look."

You can certainly look at your manager's nose, since a rapidly expanding schnoz is a classic sign of a falsehood in progress. But with today's advances in plastic surgery, even a tiny, button nose is not to be trusted.

Fortunately, what plastic surgery can obscure, psychiatry can reveal, so Goman turns to Daniel Langleben, a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania, whose research exposes the inner workings of the liar's brain, a mixed-up, shook-up organ that "first has to stop itself from telling the truth and then create the deception, and then deal with the accompanying emotions of guilt, anxiety and the fear of being caught."

One of the foundations of psychological lie detection is to study the potential liar in stress-free situations. This allows you to identify the body cues that begin to show when lies begin. It's a technique often utilized by police interrogators, Gorman informs us, because they can start an interview with a "series of non-threatening questions."

Unfortunately, at your workplace, every personal interaction leaves you drenched in stress, while the questions asked by your managers are always threatening. Still, studying your managers could establish a baseline of mild, constant lying, which should help you spot the physical cues that occur when someone is telling a whopper.


Bob Goldman

Bob Goldman is a business humor writer.

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