After Solomon became king, he followed the instructions of his father, King David, to eliminate all his foes. This episode is record in 1st Kings 2:1 – 2:46 of the bible. Politically, it was an astute thing for a leader to do in order to become more powerful. He eliminated his oppositions by killing them off.

Today, in some political hotspots of the world, we can still see some of them. But how about our work environment? Some work places have developed political hotspots of their own. Obviously, we cannot kill the oppositions off, but there are other subtle ways of eliminating them. In this article, I have listed down some ways managers can use to eliminating their oppositions legally. If you have more, please let me know.

It’s a sad thing – an insecure manager will sometimes try to eliminate his/her staffs even though the latter can be very competent, talented or even loyal employees. It does not matter whether you are really against the manager; as long as the manager thinks you are, and then you are out.

Talking about losses for the company, this type of action can even reduce the competitiveness of a company, especially during times of manpower shortage. If you are in the Human Resources department, do take note! Are employees really your greatest assets?

An insecure manager’s goal to eliminate all those who seem to have a different viewpoint from him (or her) depends a lot on his level of maturity. Surprising as it may seem, the age of a person does not indicate his level of maturity. In the book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, if the manager is still in the “dependent” level, he often blames people if anything goes wrong. On the other hand, the “independent” manager will often use languages that show that he does not need the employee. Words like, “I don’t need you”, “Take it or leave it”, etc, shows a person to have acquired the independent level of maturity, but still has not reached the interdependent level.

Very often, it is difficult for an insecure manager to move from an “independent” to an “interdependent” level of maturity, because it involves personal character building and the ability to let go. That’s where the problem starts. The manager feels insecure. Any opposition from his subordinates is deemed a threat to his authority.

What the insecure manager wants are the “yes-men” in his department. These people will never answer back or give any problems. They will spend their time busy producing piles and piles of reports that cleverly show the upbeat performances of the department while hiding the highly critical negative true situations. Nobody dares question the manager’s authority even though sometimes these are flawed.

If you are an insecure manager, the correct thing to do is to work on being interdependent. However, if you are not ready yet, below are some manipulation techniques that are often used to eliminate your oppositions. All of them are based on creating difficult situations for the targeted employees so that they can leave on their own:

  1. Using informers. In this method, the manager manipulates so that many other people will report the faults of the targeted person or his area of responsibility. Naturally, the victim will have to work extra harder to rectify the faults. (It does not matter whether other people have the same faults). The targeted person’s subordinate can also be used as an informer. By listening to the informer, the manager makes it clear that the target is bypassed and sidestepped.
  2. Adding job responsibilities. Here the manager heaps on duties that the victim is not familiar with. Because of this, the victim will have to spend a lot of time learning. At the same time, the manager will often breathe down the target’s neck asking for results. Before he can produce the results, new assignments will be added in.
  3. Using abusive languages. The manager uses abusive languages to criticize the employee. He may also subtly use psychology to brainwash the employee so that the latter will feel that he is doing a lousy job. The manager uses the power of auto-suggestion for this purpose by consistently repeating it many times.
  4. Spreading false and damaging comments. The manager may pass the word around that the target is doing a bad job so that everybody will believe it to be so. He uses the power of advertisement, and hopes that the comments will spread by word of mouth to finally reach the victim.
  5. Questioning down. The manager knows that with the limited time available for the target to do his work, he will not be able to have all the answers ready. So by questioning deep into the subject, the target will usually be left with more questions than answers. So he has to go back again to find out the answers, essentially piling up his workload. This is especially useful at closing time.
  6. Assigning chores. In this method, the manager will immediately assign additional chores to the targeted person whenever he felt that there is opposition from the target. He wants to silent him and not gives him a chance to voice out his opinions.
  7. Assigning anything. When the targeted person is quiet, this method will surely raise tempers and reactions. By assigning ridiculous assignments to the targeted person, the manager can show that he is totally in control and he can do whatever he likes with the target. The intention is to incite open opposition or even physical attacks that can be used as evidence later on.
  8. Telling lies. By just telling lies or half-truths that other people has given some negative feedback or comments, the manager can create mistrust, raise tempers and cause disunity amongst the colleagues of the target. This can also be used to recruit more informers to go against the target. It is also very useful to bring the victim’s morale down especially when it is difficult to verify the truth.
  9. Hinting resignation. If the target still soldiers on after the above methods, without giving up, the manager might want to try dropping hints that he wants the target to resign.
  10. Demanding a resignation. If the hint does not work, the manager might directly demand a resignation.
  11. Issuing show cause letters. If the target still does not resign after the above, then it calls for more drastic actions. The most convenient misbehavior charges that can be used are “insubordination” and “negligence”. By issuing show cause letters, verbal warning, written warning letters and other documentation whenever the target does an action that can be interpreted as insubordination or negligence, the manager can gather all the evidences that can be used for a legal dismissal eventually.
  12. Domestic enquiry. Getting a domestic enquiry panel to judge the case often results in findings in favor of the manager. With all the evidences that show that the target has been misbehaving, the manager has grounds to terminate the targeted employee legally. It’s easy for the manager because nobody will dare to become the victim’s witnesses for fear of reprisals. Furthermore, the panel members can often be handpicked from the management inner circle.

It is comparatively easy to mastermind incidents to make life difficult for any unfortunate victim so that it becomes unbearable. Usually the targeted person will resign on his own because there is hardly any future left for him in the company. The unfortunate person will have become a victim of manipulation.

Is there justice for the victim? Unfortunately there is none! However there is a warning from the bible.

If you are that manager who feels so insecure that you want to adopt the above measures to get rid of your troublesome subordinate, think again. Eventually you will lose. Eventually, there will be some consequences that you will face. The evil that you do will catch up and come back to haunt you.

In fact, after King Solomon’s death, his kingdom was divided, which eventually led to more disasters. As the saying goes, “Do not consider anyone as blessed before his death, for only then he will be known.” (Sirach 11:28)

If you are at the top rungs of your company, you can do yourself a favor by removing all the insecure managers who are practicing these measures. They will certainly ruin you and your company.

Better to listen to the opposition and know the real situations facing the company rather than to let all the good people move on to the competitors.