Dear Aunty B,
I run a large division of a big company and my problem is that I have to work closely with another head of division who is a bald-faced liar.
The problem I have is that everyone around us is actually very nice and professional (I know!! How unusual!) so they simply can’t believe this guy is as bad as he is. The truth is we have never had a guy like this in the business before who quite sincerely lies to your face.
The reason I know he is a liar is there was a stuff up that he was trying to pin on us and when I asked him twice for details he stuck to this lie that it wasn’t his staff. The third time I went with evidence that it was his department and he just shrugged and laughed and told me that I would do the same thing in his shoes.
Now when I read his forecasts I don’t believe a word he says. How can I be expected to work with someone like this? I have told our CEO what he did and was told that I have to get on with him as he is getting “runs on the board”. That made me so mad. Now I have to go to a new cafe as he has lunch the same time I do and I can’t stand to run into him when I buy a sandwich.
Dear Professional breakdown,
What you have to do with people like this is wipe them from your mind. That’s right. Your universe is filled with all those nice people you work with. People who act honourably, ethically and in the company’s best interests. Bald-Faced Liar is an unfortunate accident waiting to blow himself up. You don’t need to help. Take out all the emotion from this relationship. Treat him like the empty shell he is. Be professional but don’t think or notice him outside the times you have to. Be wary of what he tells you and double check everything. But make sure you are not doing this in an open, destructive way.
Also see things in a long-term perspective. Yes he might climb the rungs for a short time. But people like him always get found out and fall off the ladder. And remember the reason for his lies is he is deeply insecure. If you can possibly get to the point where you feel sorry for him that would be even better.
Your Aunty B
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