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When Miniature Manipulators become Deviant Adults


by Glenn Shepard

February 24, 2015

Category:  Management





Longview, TX

March 3

Lufkin, TX

March 4

Houston, TX

March 5


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Dear Glenn,


      In response to last week's column,  if my employees are giving me 95% but are getting their jobs done and exceeding expectations, I’m going to happily pay them 100% and allow them to reply to their texts, check Facebook, and joke around the water cooler a little in order to promote a happier, more productive environment. 

       I pay my employees to do a job, not for their time.


James in Tennessee



Dear James,

      I couldn't agree more. We hire people to be productive, not to be busy. As Henry Ford used to say, "Don't confuse activity with productivity".

     If your employees are getting their jobs done and exceeding your expectations, then cyber-loafing isn't a problem for you. But it is a big problem for most employers.

    A 2012 study of 3,200 people conducted by found that 64% of the websites people visit at work are unrelated to work, with 41% going to Facebook, 37% to LinkedIn, and 46% admitting to using company computers to look for new jobs.  

    Thanks for your comment


Glenn in Nashville, TN


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It never ceases to amaze me how incredibly manipulative kids can be when it comes to playing parents against each other.


If a child (aka Miniature Manipulator) asks Dad for permission to do something and gets a No, they'll  go to Mom. Of course, the smart Mom will ask, “What did your Dad say about this?”


The Miniature Manipulator will lie and say, “Dad said yes” so that Mom will consent.


When she does, the Miniature Manipulator will go back to Dad and say, “Mom said yes. Why won’t you let me?” and he will relent.


Only after the Miniature Manipulator has gotten what they want will Mom and Dad realize they got played like a piano.


Once they get burned, most parents learn to check with their spouse before giving a final answer the next time.


Eventually these Miniature Manipulators grow up - at least in age - but will still use these same manipulative tactics with their bosses.


Imagine that you’re out of the office. One of your employees goes to your boss and tells her that he has a problem with you. She responds, "Well come on in! I have an open door management policy and will listen to anything anybody has to say at any time!"


Then after hearing his story, she tells him she agrees with your decision. While that may sound okay, you now have three problems:


1. Your employee broke the chain of command by going to your boss instead of you (assuming you did nothing inappropriate).


2. Your boss broke the chain of command by allowing this to happen.


3. Your boss thought she was helping you and doesn't realize how manipulative your employee is.


Before confronting your employee, you have to confront your boss. Start by thanking her for backing you up. She'll likely respond with something along the lines of, "I support you 100%".


Respond with "Good". Then ask that the next time one of your employees goes over your head and tells her they have a problem with you, she respond by asking if they came to you about it first.


If they didn't, she needs to explain to the employee that you are their immediate supervisor, not her, and send the employee back down the chain of command to you.


Despite her good intentions, her merely listening to your employee sends the wrong message by convoluting the chain of command.


Setting and enforcing healthy boundaries is critical in all relationships.



To Your Success ,



Glenn Shepard



P.S. Sometimes people complain when I compare problem employees to problem children. My response is, "When your employees behave like mature, responsible, trustworthy adults, they'll be treated accordingly. When they behave like impulsive, bratty, immature children, they'll also be treated accordingly. The choice is theirs".


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