Are you walking around with knives in your back? This is how to handle office backstabbing…
Backstabbing in the Office
Most of the time we are walking around with a knife in our backs, and we don’t even know it. Bleeding and hemorrhaging with no way of knowing how to fix it.
See Mary from accounting over there? She told the VP of the department she sees you taking 2-hour lunches on a consistent basis.
And Jack from IT. He told your colleagues what “interesting” google searches you’ve made lately. And Susan from Marketing, she made up a complete lie about your conversation last week and now your boss is calling you into his office.
Think it doesn’t happen to you or your company? Think again. You just may not have heard about it yet.
Depending on how strong your network is, how much others trust you, and for a multitude of other reasons you may not find out for months how badly you’ve been attacked. And that’s only the beginning.
The First Time
I think I was in literal shock. An Executive Director had told my boss a bold-faced lied. He said I wasn’t willing to work with him and I that had demanded it was to be done my way. I had been back-stabbed.
Now, I may be a bull in a China shop in my early years, but I’m not stupid. Nor am I a jerk. And he had painted me out to be both.
So when my boss told me about the feedback I was stunned. How could he have made something up, literally out of thin air? And why would he do that? I was never a fan of soap operas, but suddenly my work-life had turned into one. But I wasn’t going down without a fight.
I literally never spoke with anyone again over the phone for the next year. Everything was voicemail or email. I kept track of everything.
The Repeat Backstabber
This time, I had been bleeding for longer than I could have ever known. But at least my boss knew me well enough to come to my aid.
A coworker had taken parts of our conversations, twisted them and told one of my bosses. Just to try and gain an edge for his personal promotion.
I never knew. He was doing it to try to get ahead in the company, but unfortunately, it didn’t work.
So when he contacted me on LinkedIn a few months later, l confronted him. He never apologized, and I haven’t heard from him since.
I also found out a year later his previous business partners were hunting him down due to the ‘savings numbers’ he had made up. They were being taken from their budgets. Budgets that they didn’t have to give in the first place.
He was a snake in the bush. And we all had suffered the consequences of working with him. But from that point on I had learned my lesson. Always watch out for those who feel slighted in their current position, want to move up or just have questionable motives for talking with you. They have the most to gain.
Countless Other Backstabbing Incidents
If you’ve read some other blogs, you know this hasn’t been the first I’ve experienced with backstabbing coworkers. I’ve had other women’s efforts stop me from getting a job.
These are only the times I actually know about. I’m sure I’m still walking around with a few knives in my back. Some I’m sure I will never be aware of, but that’s okay.
The fact remains, people really are willing to go above and beyond to get ahead. Especially if it’s at someone else’ cost.
How do we handle the two-faced foe?
1. Maintain integrity. Never return the favor, as it will only make you look bad.
2. Politely confront the situation. I firmly believe people do this and continue to get away with it because most are too scared to confront them.
3. Maintain your distance. Knowing is half the battle, so keep 99% of coworkers at arm’s length.
4. Always be alert/aware. It’s always the quiet ones who end up doing the most damage.
5. Create and maintain a strong business network. The more eyes and ears you have, the better chances you’ll hear things sooner rather than later.
6. Never underestimate others. People will surprise you every day with what they are capable of.
7. Don’t let it get you down. Karma always has a way of finding those who provoked it in the first place.
This article was originally published on Ms. Category Management on July 3rd, 2019 and is republished here with permission.
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