You work with liars. FACT. The higher up in any system you get, the more lies are told your way. Sadly, most leaders reciprocate. The best way to know if you’re being lied to is not to have the suspect take a polygraph test. Polygraph, according to Webster’s, is a synonym for “lie detector.” This, in and of itself, is a lie. Funny, huh. A polygraph test simply measures the autonomic nervous system signs of arousal like blood pressure spikes, sweating bullets, your heart pounding out of your chest, and stuff like that. It’s not very scientific and even less accurate than a trained eye. The problem is that it takes too long to train the eye to master this craft so we’ve accepted a cheap substitute instead.

The best way to know when you’re being lied to is to study the “body language” of those you interact with the most. Funny, most of the deadly deception in the world of work doesn’t come from competitors, it comes from colleagues. The best body part to study is the face. The face doesn’t lie for a brief second. A really brief micro-second. Problem. It takes too long to train the eye to master this for most. Moving down. Illustrators, according to Paul Ekman, the guru of the science behind body language, are your best bet for detecting the lie. People all illustrate when they can’t find the right word or want to add emphasis to the words they did find and they develop a very strict habit in how they do it. In other words, if somebody you work with is comfortable talking with you, they will illustrate in a very comfortable, default kinda way. Study this. Memorize their tendencies. Know their default settings.

When people get pissed their default illustrators go up. Same when they get excited and enthused. People illustrate less when they’re bored, saddened, and when  they’re having trouble deciding what to say. If somebody is measuring their words and thinking too much they stop their normal illustrators. Study the illustrator patterns of the people closest to you and when you detect a change in their default, you have struck a nerve somehow. This doesn’t tell you that you are receiving a lie, this tells you that you’ve caused some kinda distress in somebody close by. Start digging. Be clear, concise, and direct with your questions and trust your gut when filtering the response.

Most corporate cultures are NOT a culture of truth. Most are a culture of “cover your ass.” A culture of lies. I’m rereading a great book by Paul Ekman titled, Telling Lies, that is long, filled with good science, and tough to digest, much less assimilate. Most people won’t like it because it’s not candy, and it’s not an inspiring, uplifting topic. The truth is, if you’re leading anything, you’re being lied to. Can you imagine the value of detecting a few God, help me trust first and tune into the warning signals at the same time. Help me to trust you…

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