Manipulative Communication

Let’s talk a bit about teamwork perception.

Good morning, a few weeks ago, I had a conversation, and one statement stuck with me until today.

It was a discussion about me providing a solution. The other person said: “You should be excited about this opportunity. You’ll benefit from this as well.”

I can’t go into much more detail about the discussion. However, I can say that the subject was stressful and, in fact, my team nor I benefited from the whole matter. Actually, the opposite was the case.

It’s unveiling a pessimistic attitude towards people.

Even though the statement was simply untrue, I started to explore this kind of communication. And maybe you’ve also experienced similar behaviour yourself.

I think it originates in fear. Fear of failure and rejection. Moreover, it’s unveiling a pessimistic attitude towards people: Others only will do something for me if they gain personally from the action. The negativity leads then to such manipulative communication.

Sustainable collaboration won't be created through manipulation. Photo:
The attempt of manipulation felt almost like an attack on my values and beliefs.

My stance is that I want to help people by providing them with the tools and approaches necessary. I rather think holistically about a product than just about the things in my responsibility. Therefore, I don’t act only to gain personal advantages. And I’m well aware of whether I benefit directly or not. The attempt of manipulation felt deeply personal – almost like an attack on my values and beliefs.

I don’t know about you, but to me, this approach to persuading someone through manipulative communication is a significant problem. Although it might work sometimes, it creates a flawed culture. Real and sustainable collaboration isn’t possible if manipulation is the foundation.

We’re confronted with digital disruption, and we are facing immense challenges. Manipulative persuasion has to become a relic from the past when the internal competition wasn’t as problematic (but still stupid, to be honest). We have to facilitate a mindset of collaboration and get rid of the notion that people only act because of egoistic reasons.

I recognize the behaviour that I’ve experienced and my irritation as part of the inevitable cultural transformation clashes. Naturally, I show my belief in unconditional collaboration rather than just speaking of it. However, I still struggle to find a proper response. It seems that some people either still don’t believe it or are very suspicious.

Now, I’m happy to know if you’ve experienced similar issues. Do you have advice on how to tackle such behaviours? I’m looking forward to hearing about your thoughts and techniques. Just hit reply on this mail.

Thanks, and stay safe.

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