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
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
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
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
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
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 ,
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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