Who They Are: Pretender colleagues are the con men and women of the workplace. They may appear self-assured but forever worry about being discovered as frauds.
How to Identify Them: Pretenders misrepresent, embellish and exaggerate, creating misunderstandings and false expectations all around them. They will even manufacture a crisis, just so they can save the day.
What to Watch Out For: Ironically, pretenders are capable and likable when a project is in the planning stage. Then, the effort required at the execution stage triggers them to begin hyping themselves and their abilities up. They become an ongoing source of frustration, disseminating misinformation that throws everybody off course, leaving colleagues scratching their heads trying to discern the truth.
How to Protect Yourself: Keep track of their fabrications and contradictions to avoid being snared by a web of deception. When challenged about their problematic conduct, pretenders will often humble themselves. But humility is only a temporary state for pretenders. Keep them focused on facts and concrete deliverables, and give them accolades only for successfully completing projects.