5

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Colluding to Collide

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

—Eleanor Roosevelt

AS IF THE SET-UP-TO-FAIL SYNDROME weren’t convoluted enough, we’re now going to add one more level of complexity. So far, we have highlighted the boss’s responsibility in activating the process, but part of the reason why the dynamic quickly becomes entrenched is that the subordinate joins in. In this chapter we consider how subordinates unwittingly, but actively, contribute to the set-up-to-fail syndrome, through their cognitive processes and through their actions. That is, by interpreting their boss’s actions so as to confirm an initial negative impression, and by behaving toward the boss in ways that actually make her react negatively. ...

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