Deep thoughts day here at the HR Capitalist. Deep topic of the day - calling out a liar as a HR Pro. Seems simple and legit, but like so many things, as you peel it back, it becomes, well...complicated.
My friend Lisa over at HR Thoughts got me started thinking about this topic with the recent short post she did. You've been there, so I have I. So has anyone who's ever been in the workplace, working with people:
"There are times when what I have to say must be heard. There are times when I just want another person to know that I know they are not being truthful. There are times I want to take my stand, have my say and to h*** with the consequences. There are times when I choose to take this on. There are times when I do not. Is it wisdom that guides me when I choose to save it for another day?
Or am I falling down on the job?"
Are you falling down on the job as a HR pro when you know someone is lying and don't take it on? Most of us have felt that burden at some point in our careers. Like Billy Joel, we didn't start the fire. It was always burning since the... you know what I mean.
I think you can compartmentalize how you handle lies you encounter in your role as a HR Pro. First up, lies involving Fraud, Harassment, and other things your company has a no-tolerance policy towards are are pretty easy to handle. You attack those, confront, and close the issue down. That's your job, and you can flex it when you need to, especially in the obvious situations.
It becomes much more gray once you move onto other situations. What's the lie about? Can you disclose the source of the "truth" or is it simply your opinion (even if you are never wrong..). What's at stake with the decision the lie is influencing? Is it a throwaway, or an important item? What's the political power of the individual you are calling out? Are you going to get hurt? Do others have your back?
Once you sort through that PERT chart, do you have the ability to get the decision/action that's in the best interest of the company changed without calling out the lie? If so, what's your motivation for calling out the lie? The right thing? Ego? Protection of others? You're mad as hell and not going to take it anymore?
It's a complex decision when to call out someone who's lying within your role as a HR Pro. Proceed if you must, make sure you don't get hurt and live to fight another day.
Pick your spots. If you've struggled with the question and have the skill to ponder the questin, business needs more HR pros like you...