Battling the Workplace Backstabber

by Karen Keller, Ph.D.

The insidious workplace backstabbers have to be one of the most frustrating people we have to put up with! Spreaders of malicious gossip and power-hungry manipulators, they spin wicked webs of emotional destruction, hunting down and trapping unwitting pawns in their incessantly evil games. Sometimes they can be overtly blunt; other times they’re subtle and coy, gaining your trust and then turning the tables when you least expect it. They’re a formidable force to be sure, but one that can be overcome if you stay calm and cool.

Here are a few tips for keeping your backbone straight when the backstabber is on the prowl.

Wear emotional garlic! These emotional vampires seem to be able to smell your weaknesses, enabling them to easily target you. But you can fend them off by working on your weaknesses so you have more inner resolve. You must not take what they say personally. This is the crux of their style. They want to keep you unbalanced and intimidated. Stay confident and don’t let on that they’re rattling your chain.

Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes. Confronting a pesky backstabber can be daunting, so be fully prepared when the time comes. Make direct eye contact and watch that your body language and facial expressions are in alignment with a composed, yet strong stance. You don’t have to be angry or forceful, merely pleasant and positive. That in itself will throw them off your scent and annoy the heck of them to boot!

Gather just the facts, ma’am. If someone is spreading lies about you, get all the information you can so you’re readily able dispute what they say. If they tell you someone else in the office has it in for you, ask that person if it’s true. If they’re gathering others against you, get some people on your side. There is safely in numbers but be sure those you bring in as allies are objective participants.

Get out while the getting’s good. If you’ve steered clear of your backstabber or confronted them appropriately, tried your best to stay positive, and gathered a support network around you, and their onslaught doesn’t quit, it’s time to leave. As unfortunate as that might be, the cost to your emotional health just isn’t worth staying. However, before you make the final decision, consider taking some assertiveness training or investing in some personal coaching. Taking one of these actions could save you both your job and your sanity!

[Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, backstabbers and bullies find their way into the workplace. But they don’t have to get in your space. Learn the secrets to becoming ‘backstabber’ and ‘bully’ proof now. Here’s how!]

[This is only one of the many powerful articles in this week's Influence It! Real Power for Women free ezine. To enjoy the full issue, jam packed with insightful information on strategies to enhance your personal and professional life to achieve ultimate success, you must be a subscriber. Sign up for your own free subscription NOW by clicking here!]

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