Figurative backstabbing is not uncommon in the modern workplace. The same colleagues who act nice to your face may badmouth you behind your back, try to spread gossip, steal ideas, try to belittle you, blame you for things you didn’t do, or even go so far as to try to sabotage your job. It’s a harsh reality to live with, especially if you believe that there’s room to work together and be in harmony.
Not many people share that thought, though, which is why you may have had a bad experience at work. The more efficient, productive, and liked you are in the workplace, the more you need to watch out for backstabbers. We wouldn’t recommend constantly fighting these people, but there are smart ways to deal with them. To help you with that, here are a few tips you should apply.
6 Tips to deal with backstabbing colleagues:
1. Identify potential backstabbing colleagues:
Backstabbing people don’t present themselves as such, which is why it’s very important to identify them first. Though they may seem nice, people show their true colors in many different ways later on. So pay attention to every one’s behavior and the way they talk to you about others too.
Chances are that if they badmouth other colleagues to you, they’re doing the same thing behind your back to you. Also, watch out for people who have no issue being dishonest, disrespectful, gossipy, envious, or publicly rude to others. Even if they seem to be on your side, they will not hesitate to target you next time.
More often than not, this kind of person won’t think twice about throwing anyone under the bus.
2. Don’t share more than you have to:
Once you identify the people you can’t trust, beware of what you share with them or in their presence. Communication with these colleagues should be limited to work-related things that concern them. Other than that, stick to polite small talk. These are not the people you come to for advice or to get things off your chest.
So, don’t confide in them about anything, especially not your dreams, goals, or ambitions, and don’t share any ideas or plans you may have about the projects you’re working on. In short, you shouldn’t give them any ammunition to work with. The less you share with them, the fewer opportunities they’ll have to mess with you.
3. Choose your battles carefully:
You don’t want or need to react to everything a backstabbing coworker does to you. Remaining calm and restraining yourself is something you have to do at all times. Now, if things escalate, it’s completely okay to react, but you should still keep your composure.
The best way to confront a backstabbing colleague is with dignity and control. If you feel like it gets to a point where you can’t handle it on your own anymore, then you may not have any other choice but to go to your boss.
4. Document it all:
As mentioned before, you should only communicate with backstabbing coworkers about work-related stuff. The second part of that process is to keep verbal communication to a minimum and opt for e-mails instead. If they’re ever rude to you about work matters, have them communicate that via e-mail. This way there will be evidence against them if they cross the line.
Documenting as much of your communication as possible will help you when they try to spread rumors about you or tell lies about your performance to other colleagues. If that happens, you’ll have proof to back you up when you respectfully confront them about it or try to clear the air with other people.
5. Surround yourself with supporting colleagues:
Just because colleagues can be backstabbing, doesn’t mean that everyone is the same. It’s very important to learn to read people so you can identify the good ones and build relationships with them.
It’s important to have people who support you and vice versa, so nurture those relationships and make friends. Not only because it makes it more difficult for backstabbers to succeed in their schemes, but also because it’s nice to have a group of people you can have fun and collaborate with.
6. Focus on being the best employee you can be:
When you’re dealing with a backstabber, it can be quite discouraging. However, it’s important to remember that success is the best revenge. You don’t have to give this person the attention and energy they’re looking for.
Instead, focus more on yourself and on being the best employee you can be. You love your job and no one should be able to ruin that for you. So, use them as an inspiration. Do they want to see you fail? Well, they won’t have that chance because you’ll go above and beyond to achieve your goals.
It’s not difficult to deal with backstabbing colleagues because, luckily, they’re not as sleek as they think they are. Be sharp and adopt helpful tactics. Eventually, they will get tired of trying to mess with you!