Boss Lies and Manipulates Me

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a boss who lies:

What should you do when when your boss tells you stuff and forgets it and lies to cover their tracks for their mistakes?

Signed, Tired of Taking the Blame

Dear Tired of Taking the Blame:

It could be that this is a rare occurrence and you wrote because you’re frustrated at the moment. But, if this happens a lot and may harm your work reputation or result in you being sanctioned or fired, you should do something constructive to help yourself.Whether a boss or coworker is lying or just forgetting, once you know it may happen, you’re wise to do your part to ensure there is a record of what has been agreed upon, even for small matters. It isn’t always possible to document or solidify such things, but often is. For example, your boss says, “I’ll take care of the inventory paperwork, you just put the items on the shelves.” If she forgets or lies, she could say you were supposed to take care of the paperwork too.

But, you could protect yourself from that by repeating the instructions before the conversation is over and also by saying something to her later. “Cara, I’ve put the items on the shelf. You’re taking care of the paperwork, right?”If your business uses email to communicate, you could send an email with the same question. Or, you could send a text, if you communicate with each other that way. If you work in an office setting, the same type of reminder system could apply.That is just a fictional example and probably wouldn’t make sense for your work, but you get the idea.

Find a way to say and/or write the instructions a couple of times to make it clear and to make it less likely that your boss forgets or thinks she could put the blame on you later.If the issue is that your boss says you told him or her something, when you didn’t, you have another problem, because you can’t prove you didn’t say it or do it. That is when you need to start thinking about the overall work situation. Your question implies that you don’t trust your boss and that your boss dislikes you enough to be willing to put the blame on you for things. Or, it could be that your boss is not happy with your work and assumes you are at fault for many things.

Perhaps the relationship is to such a point that you need to be looking at where you want to be employed!It may be that you can move into another section in your business or let someone higher know of your concern, the next time you’re blamed for something you didn’t do. But, if you’re going to stay there you only have three options:

1.) Devise a method to ensure that important issues or instructions are documented.

2.) Push back when blame is being placed and either report it higher or insist upon the truth to your boss.

3.) Continue the way things are; which would certainly be frustrating.It sounds as though something has to change for you to stay there or be happy in that workplace, so you will have some decisions to make. Best wishes to you as you decide how to handle this.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.