When working with clients who understood the nature of games and had excellent interpersonal skills a few of them came across people whose behaviour they just could not deal with. These people who we labeled ‘arch manipulators’ could create chaos where none had existed before, set one party against another when before they got on just fine and generally throw the organisation and its employees into disarray. It was difficult to see why they did this and we probably never did fathom the reason for their actions. It could be to appear more intelligent than they were, it could be to hide a perceived weakness, it could be motivated by a need to control. It could also be to hide some wrong doing by diverting attention away from the scene of the action by creating a smokescreen.
What ever the reason, the impact of these characters on the organisations they popped up in was the same. They took energy and resources away from doing the job in hand and meeting the business objectives. Instead people became obsessed with defending their actions, recovering from unjustified attacks, creating an audit trail and talking about their experiences with colleagues.
It is clear from the feedback I have received from the People Skills Revolution, that readers found this chapter particularly helpful. It was also apparent that they often went straight to this chapter since they had suffered from bullying behaviour in the past. Many people wrote to me to tell me that they wished that they had access to this information earlier on in their working and personal lives.
Despite this feedback I still maintain that the number of people who are arch manipulators in the true sense of the word is tiny. I hope that the blog on the drama triangle will contribute another perspective and assist people to make different choices. I think the people we identified as arch manipulators combined the tactics of the game ‘Now I have got you, you son of a bitch’ with highly developed skills of manipulation, which they use to their own ends in an extremely destructive manner. So they can be charming one minute and highly volatile the next. They can also present very different faces to different people, which reinforces the sense of confusion.
Whilst games are played outside of peoples’ awareness, I have a feeling that arch manipulators are quite conscious of their behaviour and have learnt the skills of manipulation in the same way as I am encouraging you to learn the skills of influence. They use a unique blend of aggression and manipulation to treat people like pawns in their own personal chess game.
If you have enjoyed reading this article your might also like the following blog called ‘How to recognise an arch manipulator’ which is an extract from my book the People Skills Revolution.
If you have come across a possible Arch Manipulator in your work or personal life, the People Skills Revolution and the People Skills Revolution Handbook will provide you with 38 possible strategems that will help you identify what your particular arch manipulator does in order to destabilise the environment and will also give you a step-by-step approach to defuse their impact at work or at home.
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