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How do you deal with manipulative people?

Last week's question: How do you deal with manipulative people?

2 min read



SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 220,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How do you deal with manipulative people?

  • I cut them out of my life as fast as I can: 32.5%
  • I ignore their manipulations and do my own thing: 42.5%
  • I often fail to realize I’m being manipulated: 6.2%
  • I recognize I’m being manipulated but just let it happen: 2.8%
  • I confront them directly and ask them to stop: 16.2%

Avoiding the manipulator. The majority of you seek either to ignore or get away from the manipulators in your life. While that can be effective in many situations, in some situations your only option is to confront that person and ask them to change their behavior. Some helpful techniques for dealing with manipulators include changing your perspective to look at their manipulations from a more logical perspective and changing the rules of the game to react differently to their behaviors. In any case, something needs to be done, or you’ll be miserable in the situation. If you’re not aware you’re being manipulated, spend more time being reflective and assess your relationships more objectively. Doing so might help suss out hidden manipulative behaviors.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”