Workplace bullies come in all shades and sizes. One of the most insidious aspects of job bullies reveal the type I call the “manipuvisor”. The marriage of manipulable supervisor and willing workplace bully. This type of bully at work is an individual specifically recruited and hired by an employer.
The main qualification for the position of “manipuvisor” is a willingness to be “pimped” and manipulated by upper management. The specific job duties involve being an “office tyrant” bullying and terrorizing the designated “target(s)”.
The “manipuvisor” will clearly not be qualified for the hired in position. Here’s a real world example. An individual is hired into an IT position as “Operations Manager”. The new hires degree is in “Divinity”!! His only work experience or training related to IT is cabling and wiring. The “manipuvisor” has NO experience in mainframe, programming or network computing systems. He also has little or no education, training and experience with the software packages necessary to the position, yet he was “qualified” by upper management.
Lastly, he has NO management or employee engagement training whatsoever. He certainly is incompetent in the area of employee rights. In an amazing demonstration of ineptitude, the “manipuvisor” is told by upper management to conduct a 6 months employee performance reviews 2 months after his hire!! Bear in mind this individual was on the front end of an estimated 2 year learning curve for his own position. Indeed he has to consistently be trained on the IT systems and software by the very employees he is “evaluating” for their past six months job performance, 4 months of which he wasn’t yet employed with the company!!
Needless to say the performance appraisals were carried out with “neolithic incompetence”. Boy, I always wanted to use that phrase in a sentence! So why was this individual qualified for an IT management position? Because this type is the perfect “fall guy” to be used as a conduit for discrimination, harassment and retaliation against an employee or employees who dare successfully defend their basic employee rights from the violation attempts of the employer. The “manipuvisor” is a type of bully with the characteristics that will typically be assessed in the job interview process.
Another intriguing aspect of this type of bully is that he/she is not easily recognizable by accepted bully characteristics. The “manipuvisor” may not utilize the usual bully tactics such as degrading, humiliating, insulting, affronting or intimidating the target(s). The “manipuvisor” may in fact play the “good cop” role to foster a false sense of trust. However, because management is “pulling the strings” the bully strategy remains the same.
According to Gary Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute, “Most workplace bullies are sponsored. Managers who bully their workers have most likely been encouraged, explicitly or implicitly, to manage the way they do. Even if the CEO isn’t telling his managers to go out and kick some more ass…they can breed bad habits in their managers by treating with indifference reports of a managers bullying behavior”.
“Most workplace bullies are sponsored”, sounds like a manipuvisor to me!