Workplace sabotage is a common factor in all workplaces. Most people will have to deal with backstabbing co-workers at some point.
Being a successful lawyer makes others jealous.
- Colleagues may want to see you lose so that they win.
- Envy and jealousy are strong human emotions, sometimes even unconscious. The workplace is an ideal arena for such emotions.
- The envious and jealous will try anything to bring you down if you are successful.
- Lies, gossip, malicious stories, edited quotes of private conversation can all be used as weapons in workplace sabotage.
- The threat of force to make you do according to their liking is always a possibility.
Backstabbers count on you trusting them and the legal system. They know that when you trust them, they can talk you into things. They want you to trust them without them having to prove themselves.
Backstabbing colleagues can intentionally make their letters and proceedings inflammatory. They will search to know what buttons to push to which you will react. They count on you reacting. If you don’t react to them they will keep doing this again and again.
There are different types of backstabbers. Psychologists and managers who have studied workplace sabotage agree that in general types of backstabbing include::
- The ones who put you down with unwanted comments (“belittlers”)
- The ones who steal your ideas and credit (“credit thieves”)
- The ones who put the blame on you for failure, sometimes their own but always on someone else (“finger pointers”).
- The ones who love to talk behind your back spread gossips and try to destroy relationships in order to promote themselves (“rumor mongers”).
- Gossips, stirring up drama by spreading lies and half-truths to destroy your reputation.
- Slackers, who shirk responsibility and foist duties onto others.
- Scorched-earth managers, who will undermine or even fire a smart, capable worker when they feel threatened by brains and talent
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?
The subject of workplace sabotage is well studied yet each situation is a form of personal combat. Robert Galford, the co-founder of Workplace.com, reports that “…Left unchecked, workplace sabotage can hurt a company or person as much as outside competition or market shift…”. Protect yourself and you protect your workplace.
- The first thing you need to do is figure out if you are actually the victim of workplace sabotage. Once you confirm that you are consistently being sabotaged, then you need to find out who is behind it.
- When you know who is behind it, watch and observe. To whom is that person talking? Who do they influence and how?
- Build your defenses carefully
- Talk confidentially to outside allies;
- Maintain a consistent paper trail, copies of everything.
- Keeping good records is the best reply to any questions that the backstabber may create in the mind of your boss and fellow workers. ,
- Send your manager continuous updates. Keep copies of all emails and texts.
- Keep a diary with brief notes and dates to back up your paper trail. Send your manager updates. If someone is trying to take credit for your work, giving your manager frequent project updates protects you.
- Avoid gossip. Often backstabbers will fuel the gossip mill with opinions you may have shared in confidence. Remember, nothing is off the record to a potential backstabber.
- Be aware, even in casual settings. Be alert; what you say even casually “…may and can be used against you…”
Once you identify them you need to take a step back and plan your own response. It is said that “Battles are won on strategy first, then tactics.”