If a business owner recognizes one of four personality traits Geoffrey James of Inc Magazine categorizes as manipulative in employees, a Baylor University study shows she can attribute low performance ratings to their dishonesty and should add a revamp in hiring practices to her business' financial plan.

Executive carelessness could lead to manipulation
According to James, not all employees get their way by using strategies that are obviously dishonest to their supervisors. The first manipulation strategy he highlights could be the trickiest to catch, but a business owner who is on her toes should be able to spot the source's definition of forcing the card. Essentially, in situations where an employee is assigned to present a selection of options to a supervisor, unethical workers may decide to lay out several options of which only the one that benefits them directly is a positive business decision, versus presenting the executive with a number of equally viable choices.

This problem reflects as much dishonesty as the three remaining office flaws James reports: feigning an overabundance of work, masking potential problems in correspondence with higher-ups and changing the subject when necessary criticism may be brought on the employee. Nearly all of these destructive habits can be avoided with thorough hiring practices and an emphasis on seeking out new hires with genuine personalities, as a 2011 study conducted by Baylor University officials shows honesty coincides directly with positive work performance.

Humble employees will work best
The academic study found that in addition to an individual's sound morals, humility and an honest demeanor can also be key indicators of a interviewee's potential as a well-chosen addition to a business.

Megan Johnson, the doctoral candidate responsible for the Baylor study, said that while her research shows a trend of satisfaction among all types of employers with especially genuine workers, some occupations may benefit from her findings more than others.

"Honest and humble people could be a good fit for occupations and organizations that require special attention and care for products or clients," she said. "Narcissists, on the other hand, who generally lack humility and are exploitative and selfish, would probably be better at jobs that require self-promotion." 

It can be assumed that business owners looking to fill sales positions might actually have the best outcomes by hiring employees with potentially manipulative personalities. In offices where collaboration, trust and an overarching sense of teamwork are necessities in daily business, however, James confirms manipulation by employees – and executives – is just bad news.