Management, Manipulation, and the Thin Line Between the Two


If Monday's tutorial by Michael Nygard was about understanding systems, the tutorial I attended yesterday was all about changing systems by influencing their most important part - human beings. The moment we start discussing influencing other people ethical issues start kicking in and in particular the issue of influence becoming manipulation. Emma Langman, whose tutorial I attended on Tuesday, certainly hasn't shied away from this issues but addressed them head on stating that is the intention of the influencer what separates good-intended encouragement from ill-intended domination. Myself, I would go further. Being in a management role and with agenda on my mind, I found myself frequently in position of temptation to make people do something against their will and behind their back. Whenever I fell prey to such temptation, I got badly beaten and the things I did came around striking me like a boomerang in the back. Even though I did things with best of intentions, people always hated it if they felt manipulated. And that despite the fact that they in most cases appreciated the outcome and results my actions brought about. I still often find hard to see where should the line be drawn between getting things done and keeping bridges intact (or at least not burnt). While I would rather not, I know the heat of the moment and pressure of goals will push me to cross the line again. What I do hope is that it will happen less and less frequently.