5 Types of Manipulators at Work

Posted: 17th November 2023

Lots of variables influence our day-to-day decision making — though perhaps none more potently than the attitudes and preferences of other people. The human instinct to seek belonging with others helps us collaborate and build systems and societies. But it also gives ill-intentioned people an opening to mislead, lull, and even coerce us into serving their interests instead of our own. What the author calls “peer pressure manipulation” directly targets our communal instinct. Five manipulation tactics in particular lead decision makers into missteps like choosing dubious partners or investments, hiring unqualified agencies, greenlighting ill-conceived internal campaigns, and backing generally bad ideas. Once you can identify the five common manipulation tactics, you’ll be able to run through a protective mental exercise anytime a pitch for a product, idea, investment, or a course of action feels potentially inauthentic.

Do you remember that much-hyped ad agency you took a chance on, only to end up with lackluster work? Or the ill-fated marketing initiative you had a bad feeling about, but greenlit anyway to support members of your team? Or the new partner or employee who claimed to share your values — but stirred up trouble instead?

Source: 5 Types of Manipulators at Work (hbr.org)

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