Strategy vs. Manipulation

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Issue #11238 - May 2019 | Page #6
By Anna L. Stamm

It’s natural to strategize in our daily lives. We try to plan our actions to produce the optimal results. We may not be successful as often as we’d like, but we attempt to maximize our time and effort. So, what about the times when people take it a little too far?

Embellishing or Lying

Last month, my friend recounted quite an interesting story from work. Well, to me it was interesting—to the people caught in the middle, it was not much fun. It turns out that a certain person in a management position was telling different stories to different people, literally making up statements and attributing them to co-workers. The objective, of course, was to have others respond to the statements in a way that suited that person’s goals.

Observing from a neutral position, my biggest question was—how long did this person think they could weave these tales before they were uncovered? In this case, it was a solid four months before the parties caught in the web started finding out that they had been told all sorts of fictional information. Needless to say, when they started talking directly to each other instead of having their responses filtered through the linchpin of the scenario, they were not happy. Little did they know that they had been manipulated into believing things never said, being angered by snippy responses never uttered, feeling frustrated at requests they thought had been denied though they had never been asked.

Managing or Manipulating

Again, I have to say—I’m not referring to actual management strategies whereby you pass along pertinent information and skip over the things that are not relevant or helpful. Every single person in the workplace does not need to know every single thing that everyone else has ever said or done. Strategies are intended to keep things working effectively and efficiently—that’s a good thing!

The issue is—what happens when you’re in a manipulative situation? How do you, first, figure it out and, second, figure out how to fix it? And what about when it’s your superior? In this situation, there were some fireworks at first, but now everyone is simply trying to move on as the dust settles. The person who had been trying to manipulate everyone is in a very awkward position, having lost much trust and respect. In the end, the manipulation was exposed—and I wonder if that person thinks the long-term cost was worth the temporary four months of success.

Anna Stamm

Author: Anna Stamm

Director of Communications and Marketing

Component Manufacturing Advertiser

You're reading an article from the May 2019 issue.

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