Workplace Head Games
If you have been following this series of tongue-in-cheek posts about surefire strategies to make the people you work with hate you, here is the 6th in the series…
Articles about how supervisors and managers can earn the respectful affection of their workers are a dime a dozen. Since I’m addressing a very tiny niche here, I want to talk to those of you who are convinced that people work better when they hate you. I know you’re out there! I’ve seen your work! (The rest of you can listen in and learn what you can.) These are things I’ve observed from the best (or, the worst, as the case may be). Every example I include is real, and they are all effective strategies to make your people hate you!
Manipulation and insincerity in your strategy to help workers hate you
Even cranky, heartless supervisors with a drill sergeant approach to managing people can maintain a modicum of respect, even the guarded fondness, of at least some of their people, because they don’t have to wonder what the boss is really thinking. These managers may be tactless and insensitive, but you never need to doubt their true motives. It’s all out there on the table in a take-it-or-leave-it fashion.
While the above management style rubs most people the wrong way, the opposite tactic is always effective in generating revulsion among the people you manage. People resent few things more than attempts to manipulate them through half-truths, head games, “spin,” propaganda, drama, and outright misinformation. These tactics are the easy way out compared to direct confrontation, and are the mark of cowards. And everyone is disgusted by a coward.
Here are some great specific tips on implementing this tactic to help your people hate you.
Who’s the Odd Man Out?
When correcting an employee, drop another employee’s name as someone who agrees with you, even though such a discussion never happened. By injecting suspicion and distrust into the workplace you can prevent alliances from forming among the employees which could undermine your manipulative control. Keep in mind, however, that in most workplaces there are about even odds that the “corrected” employee and the “quoted” employee will compare notes and identify you as a liar.
The Sky is Falling
Complain gravely about how certain employees are “bankrupting the company” by their inefficiency and mistakes. Then, show up at work in a brand new sports car or SUV.
Please Come to the Principal’s Office
When you feel an employee’s error has cost the company money, intercept his or her paycheck and hold it “hostage” until the employee pays the ransom by coming to your office to receive a lecture.
Spray Water on ALL the Monkeys
Attempt to control or correct an employee by manipulating workplace peer pressure against him or her. One great technique is to find a way to punish everybody in the department for the mistakes and miss-steps of one.
The Sympathy Card
With a worried look, while identifying it only as a “private matter,” refer vaguely to your wife’s upcoming ingrown toenail procedure as “surgery.” When the uncle you haven’t seen since you were 8 years old dies, speak of him fondly and hold back tears. When your 19-year-old son has a fender bender in another state, shake your head as you speak of his “wreck” and express your gratitude that he wasn’t killed or “hurt worse than he was.” These things work in short term to gain a small measure of extra compliance, but don’t overuse them, as employees with an IQ greater than 75 catch on after a while.
Another twist on this technique can be used in the event some employee recognizes your manipulative behavior and actually gets the courage to confront you about it. In that event, break down and cry and talk about how much pressure you are under, and how you just want the company to do well, and how you work so many hours that you never get to see your family. If done well, the confronting employee will leave your office, shaking his or her head and saying to themselves, “Wow…I never knew. No wonder the boss acts that way.” You win…..for a while.
An Offer They Can’t Refuse
Bend the rules just a little for a worker by cutting him a break and exaggerating the amount of “inconvenience” it was for you. Then call in your marker sometime when you need it by reminding him or her, either overtly or subtly, about how they “owe you one.”
Manipulative management tactics are a great way to make sure your employees don’t like you and badmouth you behind your back.
I’m looking forward to sharing the 7th article in this series with you, “Unleash Your Inner Narcissist.” In the meantime, in case you missed them, here are the previous 5 posts in this series:
Click here for a complete catalog of my blog posts with a brief description of their content.