How to deal with Manipulative Colleague?

1,023 Views Updated: 16 Sep 2017
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How to deal with Manipulative Colleague?

A workplace is supposed to be fun, but some people spoil the environment for their own benefits. Workplace bullies and manipulative colleagues make up for an approximate of 35 percent of the whole United States workforce. The habitual manipulation by manipulators is often a powerful tactic that covert-aggressive personalities to achieve their goals, and you become the victim of their pursuit.

These manipulative colleagues are often very difficult to work with — they make baseless comments and controversial statements against you, at times even lie about things to get their way to success, or take the credit for the work which isn't even theirs.  

So, how do you find if your colleague is a manipulator? If you don’t know how to identify them, then how will you save yourself from them! Thus, below are the 7 things that can help you identify a possible manipulator.  

How To Identify A Manipulative Colleague?

Some people believe workplace bullies and manipulators are different things, yet there’s no difference between them. In fact, manipulators are a category of bullies that you may often find in your workplace. These people want to gain constant attention, and thus, they criticize you, pass angry and sarcastic comments; and say things behind your back to pull you down and rise up in the eyes of their superiors.

Now, this constant urge to climb up the ladder of success makes these manipulators easily identifiable. Just look for the signs that we’re sharing and save yourself if you find someone using them.

#1. They're Not Listening To You When You Speak

Manipulators never listen to you no matter what you say. If you ever had a feeling that your colleague is not listening to and you're just wasting your energy, you're dealing with a manipulator. Manipulators often have a tendency to hear a thing from one ear and let it all out from the other. Don't assume they're listening to you if they're looking at your face when you talk, they might be looking right through you.

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#2. Tries To Find Your Weakness

Someone with a manipulating personality, they'll always let you speak first and constantly try to find out your weakness. Manipulators use your weakness as a weapon to sabotage you.The easy way to identify if the conversation is going in the wrong way is to see if you're the only one doing the talking and if too many personal questions are coming up one after the other. In such cases, try to avoid further conversation or else you’ll become a victim.

#3. Manipulation Or Distortion Of Your Facts

Manipulative colleagues will always present your facts to your superiors with a possible distortion to benefit themselves. Mostly at times when you're handling projects, your project manager will receive a different version of it; if the process of approval includes your manipulative colleagues.

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#4. Overwhelm You To Maintain Their Position

Manipulators will do anything to keep their superiority. They will overwhelm you with facts, statistics, and every other thing like paperwork, procedures, law and order, and every other roadblock to stop you from gaining the spotlight and rise in the eyes of their superiors.

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#5. Yelling At You For Simplest Things

A simple psychology about people yelling at you says, they yell at you to make others believe that you’re not right. If this yelling is happening in the office, someone is trying to put you down by proving others that you’re not capable of your job. This is the most common sign of a manipulative colleague, and to overcome this you, have to be self-confident. When you know you’re capable, you can defend against people trying to prove you wrong.

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#6. Giving You Little Or No Time To Decide

This one might be a little confusing as there might be situations when the work assigned to you might be very urgent, and people won't allow you time to think. You may assume you're being manipulated but it might not be so. However, when your deadline for something is quite far away, and still your colleague is pushing you to complete it faster, then it's a pure sign of manipulation. Moreover, if you feel that people are not considering your decision, or not giving you some time to think upon the matter before reaching an effective conclusion, you're being manipulated.

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#7. Customized Humor Designed To Poke At Your Weakness

Some people use emotional manipulation to make you feel low and degrade your work quality. Manipulative people will use sarcastic comments to poke your weakness, and if you feel you found someone- stay away from them.

#8. Constant Judging And Criticizing

The primary method these manipulators use is constant criticism and will marginalize you, ridicule you, and dismiss your opinions as if they don't matter. They will keep judging you to maintain their superiority. 

Now, that you know how to identify if someone is a manipulator, how would you deal with them to keep yourself safe from the consequences? Just keep on reading the article and you’ll find out.

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Steps On How To Deal With Manipulative People

Dealing with manipulative people isn't easy, but there's a way out and it will take time. So, be patient, wait for the right time to get things back on the right track.

#1. Keep Yourself Calm

First things first, keep yourself calm. If you lose your temper and do something which puts you in the spotlight for all the wrong reason, you'll be the one to suffer and that's what your colleague wants. So, be patient and keep your nerves calm. It can be a little draining to stay around such people, but be smart and find your way out.

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#2. Don’t Ignore Your Gut Feeling

Don't ignore what you feel, if your gut feeling says something's not right, prepare yourself. For an example, if someone tries to be over-friendly or trying too much to be friends with you, there's definitely something wrong. Don’t trust anyone too easily, take your time before sharing anything with anybody.

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#3. Maintain A Cautionary Distance

Keep a safe distance from people who you feel resemble the person in question. Initiate a conversation only when necessary and try to avoid contact with them, as much as you can. The more people know about you, the more vulnerable you're with possibilities of being thrown under the bus.

#4. Watch Out For Repetition

Keep calm and follow the steps mentioned above, but if it gets worse, don't hesitate to take action against them. Manipulative colleagues are not going to stop unless they get what they want, they will keep annoying you unless you give them a hint that you won't keep shut if the same behavior continues. Don't take action too soon, wait and watch, see signs of repetition and report if you find it.

#5. Be Direct And Communicate

Before approaching the senior, it always considered a better way to communicate with the person in question first. Maybe he/she will understand and feel sorry for their actions, might even stop doing it. Doing this, you’ll be saving your professional relationship with the employee in a constructive manner. Ask the person to meet you in private for a while and discuss everything clearly with them, also aware them of the consequences if you have to.

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#6. Be Wary Of Their Tactics

They might have nodded their heads in agreement to the direct personal communication, but don’t trust them easily. While you would be assuming that they understood their fault and are trying to improve, they might be doing exactly the opposite. They might look like as if they’re guilty of their behavior, but this might be a part of their cunning tactics to seek revenge from you. Beware of people, don’t trust them easily.

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#7. Find Support In Others

While facing manipulation at work, you must be confident and motivated to fight back against it. Find and seek professional support from other coworkers, emotional support from friends and people outside of work, and gather to courage to fight against it.

In most cases, even if you're facing manipulation at work, ignore everything and keep working to outshine your manipulator. Your hard work and dedication to your work will help you find a way to end the manipulation you've been suffering.  

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#8. Counteracting Sabotage

Last but not the least, counteract the abovementioned behavior. If the manipulative person is emailing you every now and then and copying your boss in the emails, make it a drawback for them. Do the best work you can deliver, and then challenge their emails. Let your boss find out who is right. Moreover, don't let anyone sabotage you to advance their career, fight against it, even approach the management if you have to.  

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We hope this article helps you find your way out and fight against your manipulative coworker. If you liked the article, or have anything to share, let us know using the comment section.

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Whether it's workplace bullying or workplace manipulation, by a coworker or your manager,
none of them is morally correct. Both practices within a workplace is a threat to the work culture
of an organization. If you think you're suffering from any of the two things, don't hold back and
put up a fight.
Let me share a personal example from my last job. We were a 10 guy team- half of them
worked in a different shift, and the other half in different shift. Everything was going well until our
ex-manager started poking his nose in the matters of our team. He wasn't supposed to do that,
nor is it correct to influence someone to work according to you. Our team had our manager, but
the guy was still taken as the real manager. What happened was, the guy started yelling on
three-four of us who were managing most of the things, that too in front of everyone. It started
with one of my colleague; he started forcing our manager to increase our targets which was
already high. Some of us raised our voices against it, which lead us to more humiliation. 
We complained to the HR to sort the things, and she called us for a meeting. He, very smartly
proved himself correct by claiming his demands to be fair, and in favor of the company. As a
result, I resigned the very next moment.
But, I was asked to take it back and was promised that the matter will be taken care of. For
some time, the things were good but then our manager left and the things were directly under
'the guy's control. Now, the same things started again and we were overwhelmed by the
pressure this time. We decided to quit for sure this time, but we were not ready to let the guy get
away with his works. We drafted an email, kept everyone in CC and mentioned everything that
happened and sent it with our resignation letters. The next day, before we left, the guy
apologized for his behavior. Moreover, we didn't stop it there, we took to all the review websites
and posted a review of the company. 
Conclusion: If you're being humiliated by some manipulator, make his/her life worst. I believe on
tit for tat, thus, if he/she is making your life worse, do the same thing with them- start with the
official procedure, then take the extreme steps if necessary. 

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