How Much of a Machiavellian Manipulator Are You?

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How Much of a Machiavellian Manipulator Are You?

by Dr. Marlene Caroselli
by Dr. Marlene Caroselli,
Machiavelli Manipulate


How would you rate your inclination to take risks, to do something new as you plan your next project, to innovate in the hope of making the future better than the present? Read the following statements and answer Agree or Disagree, depending on the extent to which you agree with the truth of the statement. Think of the degree to which the statement matches your way of thinking. If you both agree and disagree with a given statement, try to determine which choice you'd agree with just slightly more or less than the other choice. Instead of a 50/50 response, then, you would consider the statement as a choice between 51/49%; you would favor one response slightly more than the other. (There are no trick questions here. Simply tell if you agree or disagree with the statements.)

Directions: Write either “A” or “D” to indicate your concurrence with the statement.

1. We should be adaptable when unforeseen events occur.         

2. One change always leaves indentations upon which to build another change.

3. In the beginning, problems are easy to cure but hard to diagnose; with the passage of time, having gone unrecognized and unattended, they become easy to diagnose but hard to cure.

4. A workplace that is used to freedom is more easily managed by its own employees than by any other arrangement.                                        

5. A wise influencer must always tread the path of great men and women and should imitate those who have excelled.

6. People who least rely on luck alone will be the most successful.     

7. Success is a combination of opportunity and ability.

8. Most people have no faith in new things until they have been proved by experience.   

9. If you have to beg others to fulfill a mission, you are destined to fail.    

10. If you are respected, you will be secure, honored, and successful.    

11. Things that come easily are hard to maintain. Things that are hard won are easier to maintain.    

12. A leader who thinks more about his own interests than about yours, who seeks his own advantage for everything he does, will never be a good leader, for others will never be able to trust him.    

13. In order to keep employees loyal, managers must honor them by sharing both distinctions and duties.

Despite the efforts of Webster et alia, who have provided us with precise definitions, words still contain subjective responses. Being “manipulative” is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, you have been manipulating others since you were a baby—screaming in the middle of the night for your parents to attend to you. Putting our needs in front of the desire of others to ignore our needs can be viewed as a survival mechanism. Don’t let the adjective “Machiavellian” turn you off. Read the following interpretation of the above quiz to see why you should, perhaps, pride yourself on your Niccolo inclinations.


How Machiavellian Are You?

Because there are thirteen items, if you had seven or more in one category, that is your "majority" category. Which category, Agree or Disagree, is your majority category? ___________

Now let's see how open you are to influences that do not represent typical sources of knowledge-acquisition. In all likelihood, you agreed with at least seven of the statements. Would it "shock" you to learn that these thirteen paraphrased statements are all taken from The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli? Written 500 years ago, the book has become synonymous with words like "duplicity" and "deceit." And yet, much of what it endorses makes sense for today's leader, manager, and/or influencer. Does a majority of Agree answers mean you are Machiavellian, in the most negative sense of the word? No, not at all. It means simply that no one thing is 100% "right" or 100% "wrong." Even in The Prince, there is wisdom from which we can profit.