Recall that the goal of a dark manager is to optimally utilize his/her resources for the sake of him/herself at all cost. As it almost always means exploiting others, they’ll figure him/her out if they can think clearly, so he/she must take away this ability from them. Clouding their judgement under the FOG is an extremely effective and efficient way to reach his/her perverse/twisted goal.
The core mechanism is straightforward — He/she must ensure that fear, obligation and guilt are the strongest emotions and feelings of his/her targets. Because of the constant guilt, they must feel obliged to “correct” their behaviors, for the fear that they’ll become punished hard. A more advanced form, however, starts from obligation instead of guilt — He/she must ensure that his/her targets will internalize the obligations that are advantageous to him/her so they’ll automatically experience guilt when they fail to fulfill those obligations, to the point that they’ll fear that they’ve failed him/her. Powerful guilt must come from the inside rather than outside.
In order for them to internalize such obligations, he/she can make use of the slippery slope fallacy(Read: Boiling Frog). He/she’ll want to gradually adjust the obligations internalized by them to become more and more advantageous to her. While most of those obligations should appear to be rational to them, few of them might be obviously not making sense to them. To make them internalize the latter as well, he/she can ask them to make tons of small but unreasonable compromises, with few big but seemingly reasonable ones, thorough a relatively long time.
For relatively evolving and young industries like software engineering, a dark manager can also emphasize the Dunning-Kruger Effect to their subordinates in order to exploit their Imposter Syndromes — By stressing that they need to keep performing better and better in order to stay relevant in those industries, they’ll probably willing to work very hard for him/her. Combining with negative salary raises(Read: Raises only a little but demands a lot more outputs) and grandiose titles/badges/medals as honorships, they can be trapped by their own obligations.
Besides, a dark manager can also use various cheap but apparently warmhearted policies to keep the targets loyal to him/her. If he/she wants them to enter the crunch mode on steroids, he/she can decorate his/her workplace to seem to be their homes to foster a sense of belonging to the same family. He/she can seem to be the caretaker(Read: Double Faced Backstabbers) for those having to bath and sleep in the workplace in exchange for their unsustainable overdrive.
In case some of his/her targets want to leave, he/she can assign them new mission critical projects when they are about to finish the current ones. By exaggerating their importance to the workplace and those new projects(Read: Important for him/her as targets to be exploited), he/she will likely feel even more trapped, now that they just can’t leave without taking care of those new projects. Repeating all these dark management tactics long enough, and the targets will realize that their abilities are so limited that they just won’t survive outside the current workplace.
In case his/her targets start to accumulate anger — an extremely dangerous emotion for his/her exploitation if left unchecked, he/she needs to establish formal channels(stated as mutual supervision by reporting offences) to incentivize them to unfairly vent their anger towards the one being the best punching bag/scapegoat available, causing revenges and then vicious cycles for them. In other words, he/she needs to subtly encourage backstabbing to prevent them being united by their anger towards him/her, as now their anger will work against each other instead.
What if the anger inside few of them is about to become their most dominant emotion? The dark manager will then have to further divide and rule as the backstabbing policies has failed to vent their anger away from him/her. Instead, he/she can empower them with rights that can be easily abused when doing so will vent the anger of the abusers towards the victims while at the same time benefiting him/her as well as the abusers. Eventually those abusers will become so obsessed to those abuses(which are themselves addictive) that they’ll be unknowingly do all the dirty jobs for him/her, making them the perfect scapegoats when the dark management is about to be revealed. Then he/she can openly get rid of his/her greatest threats while still winning credibility and reputation right after having reaped the maximum benefits from those ideal punchbags that have absorbed most of the anger from the remaining targets of him/her.
To ensure those angry threats will fall into those deadly traps offered by the dark manager, he/she can pretend that they’ve special potentials that would be wasted without his/her special nurturing. Now that all these efforts have finally become fruitful, they can at last be promoted into such a lucrative position that they really deserve to have. He/she can even say that such positions will be in fierce competition if they don’t accept the offer immediately. The key is to shift the focus to just how attractive these traps seem to be while ensuring they won’t have enough time to think to make sure they feel that they should grasp this only chance immediately. More subtly, he/she’ll also want them to unconsciously feel that leaving this opportunity to others will cause them to be victims of those who’ve eaten their lunches to abuse those rights.
If the dark manager wants his/her targets to dysfunction, then it’d be a working setup. But if he/she wants them to be productive, he/she’ll have to aggressively recruit newcomers. These newcomers, besides being more productive due to having less duress, also serve these functions:
- The older targets will have even more ideal punchbags and scapegoats to use — Those newcomers, so the dark manager can even worry less about having to defuse their anger. As he/she should’ve clouded the judgment of newcomers with FOG to remove their abilities to think clearly, those newcomers should be naive enough to work even harder when they’re being abused by him/her and the older targets seemingly sustainably.
- The dark manager can become even more covertly aggressive by being able to use up the older targets as long as he/she can still use all sorts of lies(read How Dark Managers Can Lie for details) to trick newcomers into his/her target list to remain seemingly sustainable.
As the final reminder, none of the above can work well if any of the targets can think clearly.