Deception or Duplicity
Human behaviour is at the centre of research across various disciplines of study. It is both consistent and inconsistent, depending upon a given situation. Men act. Men react. Many spurs create an action or reaction. For example, ‘fear’ evokes either of these two conditions; action is largely pre-emptive, while reaction can be visible or these could be covert. A non-visible action can be the result of either deception or duplicity.
Deception is deceit, fraud, fraudulence, trickery, double-dealing or even treachery. However, duplicity is achieved through avoidance of being straightforward. Therefore, deception is more visible, while duplicity is usually masked.
The workplace is a live laboratory where one can test various facets of human behaviour. Since it is an assembly of men and women of all hues and shades; of different backgrounds; different educational standards and different social status we witness the most noble and the most despicable behaviour of people. The most challenging task for management is to recognise and deal with those who lie between the poles and hence act surreptitiously and usually with gloves on hands.
If there are ‘problem bosses,’ there are ‘problem subordinates’ too. Problem bosses indulge in continuously changing the goal posts and this is done to ensure that there is never a feeling of ‘Eureka’ in any member of the team. Such managers are never satisfied with either their direct report or the quality of his/her work. They nitpick everything to the extent of hair splitting details.
In corporate environments, we come across a bunch of deceptive subordinate having several marks of identity. I have come across many employees who are extremely gentle and polite with their boss, but the they can be found using the choicest expletives when dealing with their subordinates.
There are managers who are essentially cowards, they have no guts and courage and always indulge in doublespeak. At the workstation, they demonstrate a sense of strong likes and dislikes. They blatantly recommend rewards and bonuses for those who curry favour with them and are never shy to recommend deceptively through reprimands and punishments for those who are seen as a challenge of replacement to their authority and position. Trained for being small minded, these managers operate by the principle that what is good for goose is never good for the gander. The latter represents potential threat and the former becomes the blue eyed for the wrong reasons. The weak in courage is strong in cunning. (William Blake).
A mention must also be made and recognised of those managers who selectively can be both deceptive and cunningly. Worst of deception is selfdeception (Plato). Double speak or duplicity is a base trait. Both should be recognised as intrinsic temptations of human behaviour and consequently must be harnessed and managed. The easiest person to deceive is ‘yourself.’ A mere recognition of this weakness will yield positive thought and action. Let earnestness to be never dwarfed by the threat of consequences. Henry Alford states, ‘Elegance of language may not be in the power of all of us; but with simplicity and straight forwardness are. Write as much as you speak; speak as you think. If with your inferior, speak no coarser than usual; if with your superior, no firmer. Be what you say; and within the rules of prudence, say what you are.’
Duplicity and deception must be expunged from managerial behaviour. Instead, adopt qualities and traits where your team members would be motivated and encouraged to emulate, duplicate and replicate. Stand on feet. Stand tall. Come straight. Come clean. Demonstrate possession of spine and not being the boneless creature to be showcased in the corporate museum.