10 Dealing with the bluff stuff Handling emotional manipulation in the workplace

In the workplace — as in a good poker game — there are players who have mastered the art of the bluff stuff. Their behaviours and the words they use are inconsistent, toxic, manipulative and undermining. Trying to spot when they are bluffing and when they are playing straight can be exhausting.

Emotional manipulation within the workplace is a hot topic. It's such a hot topic that it's the subject of numerous books that cover the issue in far greater depth than we will attempt in one chapter. But be certain that some of the toughest conversations you could face in the workplace may be the result of emotional manipulation at play.

Emotional manipulation in the workplace has left a number of casualties in its wake, and some of the greatest casualties have been staff morale, employee engagement, productivity and customer satisfaction. It's critical, as with all tough situations, to address the bluff stuff. Any situation that results in you or others feeling intimidated or shamed at work is unacceptable.

To help you get your head around the bluff stuff, we will examine the two types of perpetrators of these behaviours, the behaviours they exhibit and your role as a manager in reinforcing versus shutting down these behaviours. We will also provide a deeper understanding of effective strategies for dealing ...

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