Gaslighting is a type of psychological harassment in which someone tries to gain power and influence over you by manipulating you. First, they will deceive you and set you up to fail on purpose. Then, after saying or doing something, they will then deny that it happened. Finally, they’ll try to discredit you, manipulate you, and convince you that you’re the issue. At work, the “they” is frequently management who will abuse their position of authority to gaslight their employees, as is the case in most cases.
We need leaders to act and hold the managers who report to them responsible whenever they see gaslighting in action. However, leadership training is only half of the solution. Below are some suggestions on how to intervene when a manager is gaslighting their employees.
How To Intervene When a Manager Is Gaslighting Their Employees
When leaders fear their managers are gaslighting their employees, there are five things they can do.
Believe What Employees Share With You
Gaslighting’s goal is to build self-doubt. Therefore when an employee has the confidence to speak out about their experiences, leaders must first actively listen and believe them. The employee may be coming to you because they feel secure with you.
Do not dismiss, reject, or invalidate what they say. Thank the employee for putting their faith in you to share their stories. Inquire about how you might assist them in the future.
Gaslighting Is A Sign To Be On The Lookout For
If you may not always be present to see gaslighting on your team as a leader, you may still search for indications. You might be on high alert for small clues if an employee has shared their experiences. Keep an eye out for gaslighting trends in talks, written communications, and activities outside of work hours.
Here are several possible warning signs: Employees may be excluded from meetings if their boss is gaslighting them. They may refuse to allow them to present their work. They might keep them out of networking engagements, work activities, and leadership and development programs. They may talk about them or make jokes about them.
Intervene At The Right Time
It’s vital to intervene when someone is being gaslighted. You can utilize your position of power as a leader to weaken the gaslighting manager. By doing so, you alert the gaslighter that you are watching and aware of their behavior.
If you notice management has left one of their employees out of a meeting, make sure you include them and explain that you did so. If a manager presents a negative narrative about an employee’s performance, speak up and ask for evidence-based examples.
Gaslighting Manager Should Be Isolated
If the management is gaslighting, this isn’t the first time they’ve done it. Employ the support of human resources to look over the attrition rates and departure interview data for the manager’s team. Support the employee who is being gaslighted when they tell HR about their experiences, including giving your proof.
Help Employees Find New Jobs
Meanwhile, assist the targeted employee in finding a new position. Begin by recommending them for jobs on other teams using your social and political capital. Even if you can locate an internal position for the employee, they may not want to stay.
They’ll take advantage of an outside opportunity to start again and recover from their manager’s gaslighting. Continue to communicate with them and consider rehiring them when the time is right. The next time you hire them, make sure that you provide them with a manager who will help them develop their careers and treat them with kindness.
Workplace gaslighting is a type of workplace harassment that uses deception to get the victim punished or fired for something they aren’t doing.