The Mindful Leadership Blog

Just In! Manage Manipulation

July 19th, 2018

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History tells us that “followers” do not always follow. Some of the best followers are engaged. They confront, stand firm and otherwise ethically and firmly take a stand. Sometimes determination can turn to control and manipulation.








So What?

Most manipulation entails an emotional ploy the other hopes will get something from you. So, don’t be surprised if they use words that sound controlling. Your challenge is to convey that they have been heard, avoid yielding and correct any misinterpretations.


What to do?

Darius Cikanavicus, author, education and psychological consultant recommends that you look at the situation and examine the words to avoid getting overwhelmed, confused, or manipulated. Three examples follow:

Situation: Someone has hurt/violated/denigrated you.

The words they use to manipulateIt’s for your own good or I did it for you or You should thank me.

Suggested responseI didn’t ask you to do that for me, or No, I don’t accept that or That is unacceptable to me.


Situation: The person did something wrong but they are trying to justify it by saying that it was your fault they acted that way.

The words they use to manipulate: You made me do it or Things just happened or You provoked me.

Suggested response: If you don’t like something I’m doing, please bring it up and we can talk about it. It’s not productive to react this way in this situation.


Situation:  Someone tries to convince you that you should feel guilty because you are upset by their hurtful actions.

The words they use to manipulateYou’re too sensitive or You’re attacking me or You’re exaggerating.

Suggested response: I did nothing wrong. That description doesn’t fit what happened. 

Although the situations described here are rare, when they do occur they leave lasting impressions.  That’s why, as a leader, you must assert yourself to be a role model for setting healthy boundaries.

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