12 Manipulations of Rebels, Fools, and Backstabbers

Novice manipulators are obvious.

Skillful manipulators come off as kind and helpful.

Avoid being manipulated by spotting the strategies used by manipulators.

Strategic manipulation:

#1. Pretend you agree when you disagree.

#2. Pretend to help when you intend to harm.

#3. Make self-service look generous.

12 specific manipulations:

  1. Use questions as resistance. If you don’t want to take on a task, question it to death. Pretend you want to help but you need greater clarity or instruction.
  2. Feign weakness to avoid undesirable tasks. “I’m not sure how to do that.” After feigning weakness, ask lots of questions.
  3. Create tension between others to avoid responsibility. Skillful manipulators drive wedges between people. “He doesn’t like you.” “She’s after your job.”
  4. Question motives to undermine management. “They’re doing this to make their own lives easier.” A questioned motive attacks another’s character and intention.
  5. Use compassion to gain compliance. Have you been manipulated into doing something because a manipulator spoke softly or expressed hurt feelings? A backstabber might say, “I’m so sorry they took advantage of you.”
  6. Raise your voice so others will lower theirs. Rebels love to rage to silence opposition.
  7. Use the compassion of the tenderhearted against them. “Don’t you care for me?”
  8. Talk about what you plan to do when you’re asked what you’ve done.
  9. Use aspiration to hold people back. “If you hang in there, the next promotion is yours.”
  10. Use flattery to hold back others. “You’re so talented I can’t afford to lose you right now.”
  11. Affirm and then attack suggestions and new ideas quickly so you don’t have to change. “This is a great idea, but…”
  12. Seek advice from people who confirm your decisions. (Foolish self-manipulation)

Skillful manipulators let others do their dirty work.

What manipulations have you seen?

How might leaders deal with manipulators?

Bonus material:

Simple Sabotage (Book)

10 Ways to Deal with Two-Faced Backstabbers (Leadership Freak)