If you have gained any working experience, the chances are that you had come across a manipulator, a schemer. The one who is always a step ahead and always gets his or her way. These are players whom can rarely be beaten in their own game.
Manipulators are dangerous beings in this animal kingdom of ours. They are to be afraid of, as all of their bets are with high-stakes. Professionals all agree that manipulators are extremely intelligent, and that it is not easy to escape their firm grasp. Consistency and self-awareness are the key features a person has to possess in order to fight them. But, first, let us take a look at the most common signs of manipulation.
“No one can do this so efficiently like you” – Transferring tasks to people below you is ok if a person doing it is in a position to delegate. Otherwise, it is called simply: using people. Note how manipulators have a kind way of asking people to do something instead of them. They are asking for a favor (or demanding that you do something) while praising you at the same time. That way, they are putting you in a position where it is hard to say “no”.
“This is not just a job, it is a calling” – This argument works like a charm, because everyone’s vanity is satisfied knowing that he or she is actually doing something meaningful, and positively affecting other people’s lives. Additionally, many surveys claim that the prevailing number of people is more interested in giving a meaning to their job tasks than earning more money. From the manipulator’s point of view, satisfying someone’s vanity is a powerful tool used to hide away the downsides of each job, as well as possible warning signs. As long as you do a job that is meaningful and life changing, you will most likely overlook the red flags.
“If you do not like it, you can always leave” – Or can you? Imagine being manipulated to the extent where you are convinced that you are doing the most important job in the world, which no one does the way you do, and then being told that you can leave whenever you want to. Would you leave that company in split of a second? By making the above statement, the manipulator is actually transferring the guilt to you, and putting himself at the pedestal reserved for the infallible ones. You become the one to blame, and the one who is ungrateful. As Jessica Lang put it bluntly in one of the movies where she played the role of a manipulative mother and mother-in-law: “No one leaves Martha!” Get the picture?
“We are family” – Although the spirit of togetherness is something to admire, we have to make a distinction between our natural real-life families and corporate ones. There are companies that use various techniques to make you feel like a part of their tribe, always on stand by and ready to defend the corporate values with all that you’ve got. Personally, I witnessed rituals such as hands clapping to the sound of the companies’ slogans, listening to managers telling outright lies to both customers and employees, seeing people conducting lab experiments before a group of potential employees and interpreting results in a completely false way, just to manipulate the employees so they could strongly believe the lie, which they should then transfer to customers and so on. If you truly believe the lie, you would be more persuasive in contact with clients. A family should be a safe place where people are connected by blood and life values they share. A company is family based on interest.
What to do if you recognized the signs
Run for your life! No, honestly. There is no way to beat the manipulator at his own game, without becoming one. In case you are not in a position to simply leave, the best thing you can do to protect your common sense is to always keep reminding yourself that you should not identify with the job you do. Also, keep reaffirming your strengths, and most importantly, be aware of your weaknesses and how to cope with them. Do not let the manipulator transfer the guilt onto you or to make you believe that you are weaker than you actually are.
Have you been manipulated so far?