7 Ways Manipulators Get What They Want

We passively accept the manipulative lies advertisers use to get our money.

“Open a Coke, open happiness.”

“Wheaties, breakfast of champions.”

“All Natural … All Burger” Carl’s Jr. with a naked woman eating a burger.

Dinosaur island.

Manipulation happens when someone secretly disadvantages you for personal advantage.

Amateur manipulators:

Little Mary knows screaming in the grocery store will get her a candy bar. So, she screams.

Little Johnny doesn’t want to get ready for bed. Daddy says, “You can stay up 15 minutes if you put on your jammies now.”

Master Manipulators:

The goal of manipulation is control.

Jim Jones and Charles Manson were master manipulators. Manson convinced followers to kill people. Jones manipulated over 900 people to kill themselves.

Politicians use fear to manipulate people into conformity, motivate constituencies, and elevate personal status.

How manipulators get what they want:

#1. Flattery.

May West was right when she said, “Flattery will get you everywhere.” Studies show that flattery works even when the boss knows it’s flattery. Kissing up works.

Sincerity distinguishes compliment from flattery.

#2. Curiosity.

A salesperson pretends to be interested in you, but unethical salespeople only care about selling.

#3. Pressure.

Bob Burg taught me that escalating pressure is the sure sign you’re dealing with a manipulator. When they don’t get what they want, pressure increases. You’ll see more anger, guilt, shame, and/or intimidation.

#4. Incompetence.

A manipulator told me that when she doesn’t want to do something, she starts asking questions until her boss gives up and does it himself or gets someone else.

#5. Policy:

Leaders who hide in the shadows use bureaucratic red tape to block progress.

#6. Ultimatum.

This offer is only good today.

#7. Sarcasm.

Manipulative sarcasm is designed to make you feel small.

  1. I can’t believe you think that.
  2. I was joking.
  3. Can’t you take a joke?

Manipulation happens when someone secretly disadvantages you for personal advantage.

How have you seen manipulation in organizational life?

What suggestions do you have for overcoming manipulation?