12 Lies Bosses Use to Manipulate Their Teams

Bosses have a lot of information, which, because of their nature, they sometimes need to withhold from employees. In such a scenario, they can sometimes lie. However, some bosses lie frequently to either stop you from quitting or save their skin. You have to know when they are lying to you and stop being manipulated by them.

Read on to learn 12 big lies bosses tell employees.

Your Position Is Secure

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If your boss says these words out of the blue, it’s time to worry. No one talks about your position unless your job is on shaky ground. As soon as your boss says this, know that a layoff is coming, and activate your escape plan.

You Will Be Promoted Soon

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It’s a carrot stick that bosses dangle when they fear you will leave them. They know the lure of title promotions and salary increases will keep you in your place. They want you to stay and work hard, especially if you are a good worker. If you leave, it will hamper productivity. So the next time your boss says these words, ask, “When?” If your boss is uncomfortable replying, understand it is an empty promise.

You Will Get An Annual Bonus

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No boss ever reveals that an annual bonus is subject to economic fluctuations. It’s not always an intentional lie, but the promise is quickly forgotten when the company’s earnings fall short. If you hear this at the time of hiring, read the fine print and make an informed decision. If your boss says this after hiring, be prepared not to see the bonus.

I’m Paying You A Competitive Salary

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If the boss feels the need to say it, it means he’s lying. He simply doesn’t want you to start looking elsewhere for employment or ask around your industry to find out what the prevalent rate is in your field of work.

We Are One Big Family

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Take this with a pinch of salt. Your boss probably thinks he is the head of the family and the employees, his children, who can be told what to do, shouted at, criticized, deceived, and made miserable. It’s not a family if the boss keeps secrets, work is unevenly divided, and the boss plays favorites. Furthermore, if the going gets tough and when it’s time for layoffs, you will learn how much he considers you as a family.

Participation Is Voluntary

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Bosses say this regularly, but you should know to read between the lines. When your boss says participation is voluntary, it’s a code that says it is “mandatory.” Your attendance is noted whether your company is organizing a clean-the-beach initiative on the weekend, a product launch, or a company off-site. So don’t treat it lightly unless you don’t care for your work or are ready to give away the bonus.

Employees Are Our Biggest Asset

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Employees are not assets; they are costs, and companies value assets more than their costs. It’s a white lie, so don’t fall for it. Understand: If employees are assets, why are they then fired? Work your hours, don’t overshare, and don’t get emotionally too attached to your work or your workplace.

I Don’t Play Favorites

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If a boss is saying these words, the probability is that he plays favorites. Favoritism is rampant in workplaces, and there is no reason why your workplace should be any different. If you see a colleague spending half his day in the boss’s office talking for hours, know he is the boss’s favorite. If your boss regularly seeks out one particular team member’s advice and shoots down ideas from other members, know that he is the boss’s favorite.

You Can Share Anything With Me

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Bosses trade on information – keep this in mind always. They can leverage this information to play dirty politics when need be. So tread with caution whenever your boss says you can tell him anything. Don’t rat out your colleagues to your boss to win brownie points; remember, it can backfire on you one day. Don’t share family and personal matters with your boss; it can be awkward when you ask for leave because your grandmother has passed and your boss suddenly remembers from one of your conversations that she died ten years ago.

There’s No Truth To Layoff Rumors

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There is no smoke without a fire. If you have heard about redundancies, it’s probably true. Don’t let your boss tell you otherwise. If your boss asks you to ignore or not worry about layoff rumors, he wants the employees to work at the same speed and enthusiasm. His only concern is that productivity shouldn’t slow down. So when the rumors about layoffs are swirling, understand that it will happen soon, so be prepared. Start networking and interviewing.

Your Response Is Confidential

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Most employees must be aware that they waive the right to privacy when signing the employment contract. There is no such thing as confidentiality. If you have been given a survey, it’s not difficult for the management to find out who said what. If you are asked “confidentially” about your boss, don’t let out your grievances about how your boss makes you work on weekends or plays favorites; choose to give diplomatic answers.

It Is Only Temporary Until We Can Get The Position Filled

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Taking over extra work will put you in your boss’s good books, but many times, the boss will make an empty promise to cut costs. Look around and ask questions—is the company doing well? If you notice many vacant posts are not filled, computers are lying unused, or the company has started pinching on tea/coffee and snacks, these are red flags. The chances are the boss doesn’t have the intention of filling the empty post.


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