Is management manipulation

How is manipulated in the job

Power leaves no one indifferent. Some snuggle up with expectations of profit ("fat cat syndrome" is what career research means). The others keep their distance because power can control, manipulate, and the reflex "I want to protect myself" occurs.

"What does power mean to you?" Are economic bosses and politicians in magazines like to ask reverently. They then respond with a binding smile and a short gesture of marginalization either "For me power is responsibility" or "For me, power means being able to shape".

A bit of a strange feeling remains: You never know how much there is on the presumed "dark side of power" (to quote the power expert Christine Bauer-Jelinek and her books on the light and dark side of power).

Often the impression remains that power, its exercise as manipulation, is exclusively related to functional legitimation, only "threatens" from it that some people, by virtue of their office, can do what "us others" are denied.

Seven everyday strategies

There is tons of literature on how the bosses do it, including instructions on how to use power as manipulation. Manipulative power strategies are not just a matter for the boss.

The strategies are similar wherever there is strategic manipulation and control for one's own profit. And knowing them, seeing through them, carefully observing how the manipulation of others works, is the best way to protect.

  • A particularly effective manipulation happens through praise and recognition, through inclusion in special circles, through inclusion in supposedly valuable information. So the need to belong can be used to clear the way.

Because: Once you have been part of it, you usually keep your mouth shut. Or you just remind him or her of it. A dose of fear and the strategy will work. This is how groups can be controlled.

  • What can be observed in politics: scattering, dividing and heating up conflicts, keeping people busy, and then appearing as the savior of those who are most afraid. To see in private: drive a wedge between friends, scatter small pieces of information, divulge secrets and nourish the feeling of unfairness, unreliability and mistrust.
  • A popular tactic for controlling groups: create excitement, it costs the agitated strength and they no longer have the energy to come up with their own thoughts. Emotionalizing everything in the best possible way in order to prevent relaxed access and a healthy distance also belongs in this strategy box.
  • Make individuals sway: sore points, irritation points, attack and thereby paralyze. Create feelings of guilt, make it small. This often proves to be effective, especially when it comes to women, for example in role-sharing: "You have children and work so much" or "You are actually emancipated, aren't you?" This is often done under the guise of compassion.
  • But it also works the other way around: manipulation by pretending to be weak, helpless. ("I can't do that"). And then the others are running for you, and you can lean back comfortably.
  • In times of upheaval, questions are known to be more dangerous than answers. Anyone who manipulates so that things go according to their ideas ensures that there are always enough answers available, no matter how sensible or useful they are. Should questions be further formulated, then these can be easily removed from the way by repeating, dismantling, marginalizing, making ridiculous. At the end of such games, nobody knows what was actually asked anyway, because everything is so twisted that the field is open for strategy. ("As I say, it happens, and not otherwise.") A tightly woven web of answers is a powerful construct of manipulative power.
  • Where the power of others is discovered, it must of course be dissolved. Either by embedding ("buy in") or, if that does not succeed, by corrupting and destroying. Popular strategies for this: make it untrustworthy, present it as emotionalized ("hysterical"), as "not resilient", as a "walking time bomb". Spreading rumors and defaming it is also part of scratching your reputation on social media as best you can. Even if everything doesn't stick: It takes a lot of strength to deal with such insults - and again, the ground is cleared. Just don't waste too much energy: if you want a lot of people to leave a hall, you can either talk to each individual or simply shout "fire alarm".

Where there is fear, manipulation is particularly effective. Serenity is always a poor breeding ground for manipulation strategies and therefore a good protection. (Karin Bauer, 9.6.2016)