Games People Play - Psychological Mind Games in the Workplace
Sent Friday, February 3, 2012
Game playing is as old as mankind. No, I'm not talking about the
fun, recreational kinds of games like shuffleboard or tiddlywinks.
I'm talking about the mind games that people all too often tend to
use on one another. Shy and unassertive people can be particularly
vulnerable to these kinds of games.
This is not to say that using a little psychology on other people
is always a bad thing. For example, if one of your friends feels
inferior, you could build up her self-esteem by showing
appreciation for what she does well. This is an example of the
conscious use of applied psychology and, if properly handled, it
could be a good thing.
I'm talking about the negative psychological mind games, and they
are often practiced unconsciously.
A particularly pernicious game is the "I am better than you are"
game. in this case, the game player wants to believe that he is
superior to others in some way, or that others have some kind of
deficiency in one or more areas.
This is a common tactic of physical and psychological bullies. It
is really a sign of low, not high self-esteem. Such people feel a
need to put down others in order to make themselves feel important.
Obviously, such psychological mind games can damage friendships.
After all, friends are there to support one another, not to slam
each other with undue criticism or barbs.
Bullying behavior can result in loss of friends. If those friends
are the target of the bullying behavior, it can cause bitter
feelings to develop and a complete collapse of the friendship.
Unfortunately, bullying and psychological mind games are not
limited to the playground. They can haunt you throughout your
Psychological mind games are not uncommon, for example, in the
office or workplace. Workers who are bored or who are trying to
improve their own standing in the eyes of the boss may attempt to
put down a coworker, make him or her look bad, or try to get him or
her to do an unfair share of the workload.
Although it is obviously counterproductive, it is not even uncommon
for a boss or supervisor to play psychological mind games on their
Unfortunately, there is no simple, pat procedure for dealing with
such mind games in the workplace, but one key is to avoid
participating in or listening to gossip. Remember that the gossiper
may be gossiping about you behind your back as well.
The best course of action is to focus on doing your work to the
best of your abilities. If the game playing becomes intolerable, it
may be time to look for a different place to work.
Yours In Popularity,
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