How to Survive the Devious Divide and Rule Management Strategy

In our previous post, we spoke about what the  divide and rule management strategy is, how it works and why it is anything but cool, or acceptable. But what do you do when you are at the receiving end of this strategy? It can be extremely stressful and limiting to work in an environment where you are being subjected to demeaning strategies of management such as this. But, know that this is not uncommon at all in the world of work.

Divide and Conquer – As long as some people have commanded the work of others, this has been management’s basic principle.
Peter Rachleff

In this post, we discuss the various survival techniques, or a list of options that you may think of using, depending on how dire the situation is, in order to overcome or survive a manager who chooses to divide and conquer.

1. Try not leaving any scope for complaints

Even though it doesn’t always work like that, the only way your boss or manager will try to play this card with you is when probably there are some concerns relating to the deliverables. At times though, you might be at the receiving end of this (the divide and rule management strategy) behavior when your boss has something personal against you – which needless to say is extremely unprofessional. Try and do your best in meeting your targets and goals, and leave little or no scope for complaints. It might be a little hard (even for the worst bosses) to nitpick when you are a good performer.

2. Learn the art of diplomacy

You don’t have to be extremely chummy with your colleagues; even then, with a bit of diplomacy and tact you should be able to find out if they are being subject to the same kind of treatment. If they are, well, your doubts will be confirmed and probably you will know what kind of action the situation warrants.

3. Patience and acceptance

At times, even all the knowledge and facts in the world won’t help a situation like this. In which case, you have to accept it for what it is. In the meanwhile, be patient and do your work the best you can, hoping for the situation to get better. Confrontation in cases like this can backfire harshly, which can’t be too good for you, especially if it’s a job you really love.

4. Seek out/ get in touch with a mentor

This can truly be therapy for you. If you don’t already have a mentor, seek one out. Speaking to your mentor about this can give you some clarity about how to tackle the situation. In all probability, they’ve been there, dealt with that. Who can be a mentor? Anyone you trust, and feel might have some guidance that will help you. Could be a senior at work (be careful though), or a friend, or a relative whose professional guidance you are likely to value.

5. You always have the option to quit, take a call

As a last resort, and if it really gets that far, understand that this isn’t the last job for you in the world. Don’t jump the gun just yet. But start looking out for, and applying to other jobs. If you wake up dreading going to office everyday, maybe it is time for a pleasant change. Accepting this might be a bit unsettling, so take your time to think it through. However, do be sure of your skills and the fact that with a bit of effort you can find a job which would be way more satisfying than your current one.

Working in an environment of divide and rule management can evoke the worst from you. And that is not what you want your manager to succeed in doing – he/she probably wants to push you to that extent so that they finally have an official reason to fire you. The moment you feel matters are heading that way, take a call and make a graceful exit while you have the option of doing so.

One of your other options could be to take this up with the HR, but you would need very substantial and tangible proof to support your claim. In the case of divide and rule strategies, it can be especially hard to garner that proof, so be extremely sure of what you’re saying if and when you do decide to take it to the HR.

Survived the divide and rule management strategy? Tell us how!

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