This post about workplace mobbing is by Delia Grenville In the popular FX show The…
We’ve all been there at one time or another — too tired to care or argue. Hanging on by a thread with no craps left to give. This is how folks often land in the Manipulative Insincerity quadrant of the Radical Candor Framework.
Manipulative Insincerity is what happens when you fail to both Care Personally and Challenge Directly.
It’s praise that is non-specific and insincere or criticism that is neither clear nor kind.
It’s the kind of backstabbing, political, passive-aggressive behavior that might be fun to tell stories about but makes for a toxic workplace, ruining relationships and work.
People give praise and criticism that is manipulatively insincere when they are too focused on being liked or they think they can gain some sort of political advantage by being fake, or when they are too tired to care or argue anymore.
Manipulative Insincerity often starts as Obnoxious Aggression — what happens when you challenge someone directly but don’t care about them personally.
It’s being clear, but not kind; praise that doesn’t feel sincere or criticism that isn’t delivered kindly. Obnoxious Aggression is also called “brutal honesty” or “front stabbing.”
In the videos below, our Candor Coaches share stories of Manipulative Insincerity as well as stories about how easily Obnoxious Aggression can devolve into Manipulative Insincerity, and how quickly a front stab can turn into a stab in the back.
Talking Smack Behind People’s Backs
Eventually, the dynamic became so uncomfortable that Aaron left the team.
Candor Coach Becca Barish shares a story about a time she behaved with Manipulative Insincerity by talking behind a team member’s back after a meeting rather than approaching the person directly.
This created an “us versus them” mentality and polarized a team that was supposed to be working collaboratively.
From Obnoxious Aggression —> Manipulative Insincerity
Lead Candor Coach and Podcast Host Amy Sandler shares a story about a time she behaved with Obnoxious Aggression by kicking up.
Instead of talking to them directly, she cc’d a colleague’s bosses on an email to vent her frustration with said colleague’s performance on a technology project they were both working on.
Not only did this behavior reflect poorly on Amy’s colleague, but it also made her seem like a jerk.
When a new team came and took charge of the project, Amy was the lone member of the original group, and she was so over it.
Rather than bring the new team up to speed on what had already been done, she moved swiftly from Obnoxious Aggression to Manipulative Insincerity.
Amy didn’t share any information with the group and instead adopted a “good luck with that” attitude.
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