Admit it. You’ve got one in your office. Perhaps you’ve been accused of being one. The back stabber is someone no one wants to know and unless you’re educated in the ways of tackling one of these energy-suckers, you’re in for a long and painful battle in the tough world of office politics.
According to Dr. Mitchell Kusy, management consultant and co-author of Toxic Workplace! Managing Toxic Personalities and their Systems of Power, both male and female workers practice backbiting behavior with equal intensity. In a research that Kusy conducted with over 400 respondents, the backstabbing worker exhibited certain distinctive character traits. “If you notice that those above think ‘she’ is wonderful in spite of repeated accounts from those below her of backstabbing, team meddling, and manipulation, you are probably dealing with the chameleon,” Kusy says.
Then there are the connivers who gain respect for attacking the efforts of other workers and distrusting colleagues. While it may be hard to believe that any company leader would tolerate such unethical behavior, Kusy points out that “many superiors are easily duped into believing that these negative employees are ‘indispensable’ largely because these passive-aggressive workers are masters at convincing everyone of their inflated sense of importance and productivity.”
First thing that any aggrieved employee needs to do is assess the situation to make sure that there is no misunderstanding. If you can free yourself of any blame, then check to see if other workers are also sharing the same frustration. Having allies in the workplace can be powerful weapons in dealing with hostile co-workers so do your best to keep your office buddies close.
Secondly, watch out for some clues to the tactics of the typical job saboteur and if any of these thought come to your mind, you’re probably being targeted by a co-worker frenemy.