On the surface, it would seem your professional and intimate lives are worlds apart. However, when you peel back the layers, you find patterns that are mirrored in both. For example, whatever upsets you in your personal life will upset you in the workplace, even if you are taught to suppress it at work. Eventually those upsets willaffect your decision-making.
With that said, whoever you are is who you are. If you find it normal to manipulate people in your intimate life, there’s a good chance you will replicate the same behavior in your professional life. In either case, you will most likely have a list of justifications for why you do it. At the opposite end, the same occurs if you are someone who empowers those around you. What is interesting is both the manipulator and the empowering person can find themselves in leadership positions.
If you were to analyze the manipulator, you may find several patterns as a leader. To name two, they will have resentful people around them or they will only hire “yes-men”who are not as smart as them.
Having the pattern of resentful people can cause unintended chaos. Once people figure out they are constantly being manipulated, they may become rebellious as a way to get even. This can be a refusal to cooperate, do work, late with assignments or attendance in a professional arena. Unfortunately, manipulative people tend to stay in management positions because they produce short-term results. In an intimate life, it can result in arguments or refusal to cooperate as a team of two. This is the path to break up or divorce.
When the leader hires “yes-men”, people do as they are told. They find themselves forced to agree with the manager, who can be very charismatic or demeaning and authoritative. One of the greatest problems in this environment is that people may not be able to make decisions in the absence of the leader. In that case, the leader may become resentful of his work team or spouse because they appear too weak. Or they lack initiative to act independently.
For the empowering person, there are patterns also. In some cases, empowering people may stretch you beyond your normal capacity to think. Initially that can be uncomfortable. In some cases, it could appear you are being manipulated. Except, unlike the manipulator, empowering environments solicit feedback from others, even if the thought is controversial. That gives people a greater ability to interact and learn from one another. In an intimate relationship, the patterns will be similar. The two people will constantly learn from one another and feel empowered to contribute in other ways. Those contributions can be the result of going the extra mile, sharing resources or advocating for one another.
Perhaps one of the big differences between the two types of people is trust. The empowering person may have a greater sense of trust for the people around them. He or she may even be comfortable when mistakes are made. They will most likely have a process for discussing mistakes so everyone involved can learn from it. If, on the other hand, the manipulator has no trust, he or she will manipulate you to do things their way. Therefore, they are less open to perspectives of others. As for mistakes, they may be used against you.
From another perspective, perhaps what is most telling is that whomever you are in life – work, play or love – says more about how you see yourself. It almost never has anything to do with your intimate partner or your work colleagues. Manipulation may have more to do with the fear of looking bad. That may be the case if you are already self-conscious about some deficiency you have been hiding forever. The empowering person may be much more transparent and willing to look foolish or learn from mistakes because he or she values learning. Which of the two are you?
What do you think? I would love to hear your feedback. And I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know.