Summary of “How to Work with a Manipulative Person”

Almost everyone who’s ever gone to work has had to deal with an office manipulator.
Many workplaces promote manipulators because they appear to be effective at getting things done, despite the significant costs their abuse can inflict on productivity and people over time.
Three kinds of responses have proven to be consistently effective for confronting most garden-variety manipulators, even if you have less rank, power, or status.
Manipulators don’t usually show their true colors at the beginning of a relationship.
Over time, she began to doubt her own instincts and started acting like the manipulative colleague’s sidekick rather than championing her own causes.
At one point, a vice president who had an extremely self-serving and manipulative reputation raised his eyebrows in apparent surprise, shook his head repeatedly, and at the end shrugged, as if to indicate to his peers in the room that he either didn’t agree with what his colleague was saying or didn’t understand why he was saying it – all without him saying a word.
Rather than letting her hide her criticisms behind others, I would say things like, “You’ve been clear that you don’t like how James handled his team’s conflict. I’ll be happy to meet with you and James so that you can explain your concern, and then I can work with him on managing his team.” Now that she understands her own behavior pattern and has received support to change, she’s far less likely to offload uncomfortable situations to others.
If your position is senior to the manipulator’s, the most effective thing is to begin a rigorous plan of corrective action promptly, using approaches such as these and providing concrete behavioral feedback until they either drop their inappropriate habits or you remove them.

The orginal article.