Four Pillars of All-Win Leadership: 

  • Think, Speak & Act Your Truth

  • Seek Alternative Perspectives

  • Inquire Holistically

  • Create All-Win Solutions


Frame Up: 

These (above) are our four pillars of All-Win leadership.  In today’s leadership development training segment we are going to focus on the first pillar, helping you to think, speak, and act for yourself, and lead others to do the same. 



What are the first images or words that come to your mind hearing the word “manipulation”?

Share a few words each, if inspired.

Today, we are going to explore tactics and methods of manipulation as we experience and enact them. The goal is that by the end of the session we will have revealed to ourselves new ways of understanding and rising above manipulation.


Terms and Distinctions:  (5 min)

Manipulate: to skillfully manage others to one’s own advantage

Psychological manipulation is a type of social influence that aims to change the behavior or perception of others, using indirect, deceptive, or underhanded  tactics that undermine the choice and sovereignty of the manipulated, while advancing the interests of the manipulator. 

Influence: the neutral capacity to have an effect on people

Social influence may be used positively, negatively, or neutrally. Here, it includes a respect for the rights and sovereignty of the influenced to accept or reject persuasion. 

Inspire: to fill with high emotion in alignment with personal and greater good/expression

Inspiration describes when the capacity to affect others results in an expansion of life-affirming possibility and creativity.


Note: We all have the capacity to manipulate, influence, and inspire.  This is not about pointing fingers at “the bad guys” who manipulate, but recognizing where we have all enacted and experienced manipulation so that we can develop greater presence and autonomy in connection with ourselves and others. 


Inquiry Opening: (2 Min) 

As citizens and members of OneNation, we must rise above manipulation. We cannot offer our leadership to the world if our own thoughts and feelings are controlled by others to their benefit. Similarly, we cannot expect others to rise into their full sovereign power if we perpetuate our own manipulative tactics for our gain.


The goal is for us to become more resilient against manipulation and more earnest in not manipulating others, whether consciously or unconsciously. By rising above manipulation, we can all think, speak and act for ourselves.  We must do this in order to offer our authentic and unique leadership in action.


Content Warning: 

This lesson is designed to help us cultivate the capacity to be in difficult conversations that may trigger painful emotions. Everyone is encouraged to take responsibility for their present experience, if that means pausing to breathe or taking a break. Please, tend to your needs. 


Facilitated Conversation: (12-15 Min) 

What are ways that you have experienced manipulation, both as manipulator and manipulated? Consider personal relationships, broadcast media, politicians, advertising, etc. 


Embodied Experience: (15 Mins) 

Participants pick one of these manipulation tactics to act out, then share with the group the official name and formal definition. Or, think of a specific real-life example.


  • False Dilemma, a.k.a. All-or-Nothing Fallacy: When an argument is presented as a choice between two extremes when other possibilities exist. 

Ex. You are either with me or you’re against me. 

  • Appeal to Fear, a.k.a. Fear-Mongering: When fear, not evidence or reason, is used as the primary motivator to get others to accept an idea, proposition, or conclusion. May sound like a threat.

Ex. If you don’t accept X as true, then something terrible will happen to you or something you care about. Therefore, you should behave as though X is true.

  • Distraction: A non-sequitur that changes the focus of the conversation as a way of avoiding the conversation. 

   Ex. This is a difficult conversation. Let’s talk about the weather.

Ex. This is a difficult conversation. What about this other difficult conversation?  

  • Appeal to Authority: Insisting that a claim is true simply because a valid authority or expert on the issue said it was true, without any other supporting evidence offered.

Ex. The foremost expert in the field said that X is true, therefore X is true. 

  • Othering: Weighing the merits of an argument on who is making it and who it supports, rather than on its holistic quality.

Ex. If they think X, then we think not-X.

Ex. If they want something that I don’t want, then they’re wrong and not to be regarded.

  • Bandwagon: Appealing to the popularity of a trend or the “rightness” of the mobs, playing on fear of being left out.

Ex. Everyone’s doing it so you should, too. You’d be left out if you didn’t.

  • Ad hominem: Invalidates an argument on the basis of another’s characteristics, background, appearance, or other features irrelevant to the argument at hand.

 Ex. You think X, but you’re an idiot, so X is wrong. 

  • False Promises: Makes promises with no ability or intention to keep them.

Ex. If you agree with me, I’ll bring you the moon.

  • Self-Pity: Disarms or derails a conversation by appealing to personal weakness.

Ex. You can’t think that because it hurts me and I’m weak. 

  • Flattery: Uses compliments to ingratiate toward their aim.

Ex. You are so smart and capable, you must certainly think X.


Impact Conversation: (25 min)

  1. What are ways of being that may help  you rise above being manipulated?

  2. What are ways of being that may help  you rise above manipulating others?

  3. What is the impact of this experience on you?


Affirmation: May We Rise Above Manipulation 




For Further Exploration: