Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about accused of lying:
I’ve been working for a construction company as a site manager for 2 years. I have a project manager who is below my boss who is fabricating things about me at work to the director. He says I lie, even though I don’t. He says sub-contractors all hate me when I speak to them and I talk down to them, but I don’t do that either. I have asked them if they are unhappy with how I organise things on site and they say they are fine with it. Also other things are being fabricated, such as if I make an honest mistake it is overblown and the director finds out about it. My theory is that by telling the boss these things it makes the project manager look better and he uses it for his own gain.To describe the project manager: He is manipulative, acts as if he is your ally but is really your enemy and will talk behind your back any chance he gets. He always makes sure his tracks are covered or places the blame on me.
I have been quiet for these past months until today when I received an official warning from my boss outlining such allegations against me. I confronted the project manager and he seems to think that I’m lying. He made me sign the warning to give back to my boss.I want to confront my boss but he has trust in his project manager, so more or less its a losing battle and I don’t know what to do about it. It’s frustrating and I can’t help but to feel anxiety. How can I clear my name?
Signed, Upset and Anxious
Dear Upset and Anxious:
I don’t want to make you more anxious, but it seems as though you had better do something quickly or that warning will turn into a dismissal! Write a brief letter to your director saying that you feel very frustrated at being warned about something you do not think you are guilty of doing. Describe the kind of employee you try to be–briefly list your good qualities. Then, say that you continually work to be a better site manager. For example, you have talked to subcontractors to make sure you were communicating well with them. They assured you they were happy with the way things were going. That is why you are so frustrated at being wrongly accused.Say that you will make any adjustments that seem to be needed if you can get some specific ideas of what you have done and how it should have been done differently.You may want to make a statement like this (which will not be accusing anyone else of lying about you.) “I am really confused about how I could get a warning when I honestly do not think I have done anything wrong. I can only think you have gotten false information from someone and I would like the chance to talk to you about it.”
Push back a little in a courteous way, to say that you aren’t just admitting by your silence that you are at fault.As far as your project director goes, maybe you are right that he wants to make himself look better. But I would imagine the two of you don’t get along anyway and things just get worse and worse.I doubt that the director would take serious action such as a warning or worse, if there is absolutely nothing but the word of the project director. If you have a good enough relationship with subcontractors and others, you may want to tell them that you really, really need their support and ask them if they would let the director know of your good work with them.Consider also that maybe things aren’t going as well as you think, but the subcontractors don’t want to tell you directly. So, they complain behind your back, which gives the project director more ammunition. One thing is for sure–you must really stay focused on getting the work done the right way and showing that, whatever complaints there might be, you are a valuable employee for them.
No one wants to get rid of a site manager who has experience, if the work of that manager is resulting in profits. Keep focused on being the best of the best, with a positive attitude and good internal customer service with everyone. You need friends and supporters right now more than ever! Best wishes as you deal with this challenging situation.
Tina Lewis Rowe