Monday, October 22, 2012

Manipulators

Manipulators will usually assume manipulation. Why is this?

But first; what is a manipulator? I define a manipulator as someone that attempts to steer another's behavior by covert means - by limiting or filtering the information passed on. I see this as a destructive behavior that damages the organizational system; which relies on free flowing information in order to respond appropriately.

From time to time I have clashes with the manipulators in my organization. Sometimes this is about my wish for greater transparency - something manipulators greatly fear, as their methods do not work in such an environment. But more often than not this is instead because they assume I have a hidden agenda (as they do) and therefore imagine the worst kind of motives for my behavior.

I find this assumption that others must share one's own motivations fascinating - as I do not think in this way. The very first thing I do is try to model the motivations of those around me, based on long conversations and some observation. Doing this I have concluded that people have widely varying primary motivations. Some are primarily motivated by safety, some intellectual challenges, some want the best for the company and some only to advance their own career (these are usually the manipulators).

So why do manipulators assume that everyone else always had a hidden agenda? That innocent questions are an attempt to circumvent or challenge? And how is it that in almost every organization manipulators prosper at the expense of our efforts to achieve transparency?