6 Office Manipulators and How to Handle Them

6 Office Manipulators and How to Handle Them

How many office manipulators do you work with on a daily basis?

One, two — several? Office manipulators are coworkers who knowingly or unknowingly do things to thwart other people’s success, usually while putting themselves in a better light than they deserve.

Let’s learn more about the 6 most common types of office manipulators and how best to deal with them before they drive you insane and/or out of your job!

Office Manipulator: The Gossip
Image Credit: Dia/Flickr

1. The Gossiper

The gossiper will push you into the corner of the break room, or find a semi-secluded area in the hallways of your office where they can spill all the beans about the sex club Ted saw Sally going into over the weekend. Or tell you how Brad’s wife left him because it was discovered he has 3 other wives in different states, etc.

How to deal:

The gossiper is nobody to be messed with — just avoid them! When the conversation turns to other people in the office, simply get the heck out of that situation, anyway you can. That’s the only way to avoid getting caught up in their web of contempt and having the rest of the office tie you two together as the devious duo seeking to destroy the reputations of everyone in the office.

2. The Credit Taker

The credit taker is bound and determined to get ahead anyway they can. They’ll steal any idea they feel is worthwhile. The credit taker isn’t just limited to verbal thievery though, they’ll take your ideas and execute them before you get a chance, making it near impossible for you to expose them for who they really are.

How to deal:

The only way to deal with the idea thief is to never tell anyone in the office your ideas unless the entire team is present. This takes discipline, but when there’s a credit taker in your midst, you really don’t have any other option. Also ensure your manager is kept abreast of all your ideas as you progress through various projects, to prevent the credit taker from using their ninja-like tactics when you’re not looking.

3. The Flatterer

The flatterer has decided that flattery is the best way to be liked by everyone. Though you can definitely attract more bees with honey than you can vinegar; it’s hard to tell when this individual is being sincere and when they’re just saying you look nice in your new top, or that one of your ideas is great when they think it’s actually incredibly stupid.

How to deal:

Just accept that’s the way they are. If you call the flatterer out on their deceitful compliments, they’ll likely turn their back on you and most likely will start to say lots of mean, potentially career-curbing things behind your back. Instead accept what they say as the truth without taking them too seriously.

Office Manipulators
Image Credit: Morgan/Flickr

4. The Saboteur

The saboteur comes in many forms. Maybe they’re always breaking things and blaming others. Or erasing/moving important team documents on the server, only to swoop in once someone else realizes the problem and restoring or finding it mysteriously in another file. Sometimes they’re just looking for credit to boost their ego, while other times they just love to cause havoc by making others look bad or generally just causing misery around the office.

How to deal:

There’s no easy way to control someone who’s bent on destruction. Keep your eye on them, get the rest of the team together and talk to management about them. And avoid putting important tasks in their hands or giving them access to documents, software, tools (etc) that you can’t afford to have messed up.

5. The Pressurer

The pressurer would have been better served going into politics or joining Greenpeace. They love sharing their opinions with everyone and trying to sway everyone to their line of thinking: the boss sucks; Mary ruins everything they touch; management just doesn’t see all the problems they do; why doesn’t everyone band together and form a union, etc.

How to deal:

The only way to get through to the narcissistic pressurer is to somehow gain their respect until they value your ideas as much as their own. This is a hard, arduous process, that still may end up with you as the person who “doesn’t know what they’re talking about” in the end. However (gently) sharing your own ideas and opinions about whatever issues get them so passionate is the only way to get through to them.

Office Manipulator: The Advisor
Image Credit: Tim Welbourn/Flickr

6. The Office Adviser

Everyone, including management turns to the adviser for advice and acceptance.

How to deal:

This person is likely unknowingly manipulating the staff, and their influence is usually far from negative. Embrace the adviser as everyone else does. Don’t make an enemy out of them or talk down about them to others. Going against the adviser will result in nothing but you being ex-communicated from the group and potentially fired or demoted down the road.

Who’s your least favorite office manipulator?

Main Image Credit: Peter Lindberg/Flickr


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