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How Successful People Deal With Manipulators

How Successful People Deal With Manipulators

Some people are born manipulators, and not in a good way. A psychological manipulator deliberately creates an inequality of power, exploiting a victim or circumstance to serve their agenda. This can be beneficial, of course, and many successful business men and women are master manipulators. The problem is that a psychological manipulator isn’t necessarily going to have the best interests of the business at heart.

According to Psychology Today, most manipulative people have four common characteristics:

  • They know how to detect weaknesses
  • Once those weaknesses are found, they use them against you or your business
  • Through shrewd machinations, they convince you to give up something of yourself in order to serve their self-centered interests
  • In work, social, and family situations, once a manipulator succeeds at taking advantage of you, that person will continue repeating the violation until they are stopped.

How do successful people deal with manipulators? They do so through wisdom and their own strength of character.

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Below are several character traits and actions that successful people commonly use to deal with psychological manipulators.

1. They always trust people until those people are no longer honest

According to Jorge Diaz, founder of Lead Layer, honesty is one of the best compasses to use to successfully deal with manipulative people. It’s a filter that weeds out the people who will give you problems, like a business partner who just wants to work with you in order to take advantage of your connections for their own gain.

Steve Jobs, former CEO of NeXT and Apple and one of the most successful people in history, had a habit of being brutally honest. He told his biographer, “I don’t think I run roughshod over people, but if something sucks, I tell people to their face. It’s my job to be honest.”

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2. They remember that manipulative people are good communicators

A manipulative person won’t do what they say, but they will convince you with their interpersonal skills that they possess more value than they actually do. Unfortunately, once you’re ready to pull the trigger and take action, the manipulative person won’t act or will give you excuses so he or she can take advantage of the situation.

This reflects back to dealing with people honestly and expecting the same. Once the manipulator shows his or her true colors, it’s time to cut the cord and end the business relationship with that person. The successful person realizes this, and acts swiftly to remove the manipulator from any position of influence he or she might be in.

3. They evaluate the past actions of people

Looking at business that people have conducted in the past, digging deep to have a feel for what a person has built over the years, will show you what kind of person the manipulator really is. Do those past actions show a healthy response to fear, or an overwhelming defeat by it? The manipulator, often, is defeated by fear.

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Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard, pointed out that “The difference between people who succeed and people who fail, I think in many cases it’s not fear. Everyone experiences fear. The difference is what do you do with your fear. Do you work to overcome it or do you let it defeat you? And I think that is actually what distinguishes very successful people from others.”

4. They follow their intuition

Whether in the business world or in personal life, it isn’t often that we hear our inside voice. Successful people are in tune with what both their minds and their bodies tell them, using the feedback on the outside world to determine whether something truly is as it seems.

Bill Gates once said, “Often, you have to rely on intuition.” Steve Jobs agreed with this, encouraging others to “Have courage to follow your heart and intuition.” If that’s not enough, Oprah Winfrey insists that people should follow their instincts because “That’s where true wisdom manifests itself.”

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5. They don’t play the fool

Gary Rawding, Chairman and CEO of myServiceForce, points out that successful people do not typically play the fool. Rather, they tend to be direct and challenging, knowing that manipulation won’t hold up well to the bright light of deeper inspection.

They take risks, to be sure, but they don’t do so foolishly. Instead, they closely evaluate every person they are dealing with and every situation they are embroiled in, determining how the puzzle pieces fit together and which pieces are from the wrong box.

6. They expect excellence

The manipulative person will find it difficult, if not impossible, to maintain an atmosphere of excellence. Their excuses and backpedaling won’t stand up to the light of excellence, so demand nothing short of that in the workplace. Like honesty, the expectation of excellence will act as a filter to weed out those who just want to manipulate the environment to best suit them.

Steve Jobs once advised leaders to “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” By demonstrating excellence, the successful person sets the stage for a manipulator to be found out and dismissed out of hand.

Featured photo credit: Gratisography via gratisography.com

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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