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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

BacKStaBBeR At WoRK…

Are you having problems dealing with a co-worker who pretends to be supportive to gain information and your trust then jabs a knife on your back? Here are ways to deal with such colleagues .

Today's work environments encourage employees to be open, work collaboratively and share ideas and insights. But while these conditions can be positive for productivity and the company, they can also make you vulnerable to the colleague who is known for backstabbing. What can you do to avoid turning your back into a knife rack?

Think twice before you speak
Be careful with your secrets. Do not say anything to anyone in the office that you wouldn't want others to know. Instead, find a friend outside the company to consult and confide in. The likelihood that your secrets will be used against you will be less.

Use your sixth sense
Is there something not right or a mismatch between a colleague's words and actions? Do you continue to mistrust a co-worker's intentions? Does a colleague's smile or praise seem artificial? Do people in the office keep away from this colleague? Do some subtle enquiry and find out for yourself. People who have suffered will tell you things right away.

Get to know others
Keep a cordial relationship with the backstabber while still maintaining your professionalism. But do form alliances with trustworthy colleagues for support, protection and to stay tuned into the grapevine.

Get clarification
If the backstabber is your boss, then ensure you have everything in writing. Supervisors can get away with backstabbing when there is ambiguity. Clarity usually puts an end to the confusion – and the backstabbing.

Handle confrontations publicly
Don't hesitate in exposing the backstabber politely in public. For example: "You supported me earlier and gave me your full support when we discussed the idea in my office last week, then why are you being critical about it now?" Backstabbers are obsessed with their image and want to appear cool and collected in front of people. As long as you remain emotionally in control when you confront them in public, you will embarrass them enough that they will leave you alone.

Take the high road
Avoid a mudslinging match by confronting the backstabber openly with open accusations. It will only make you look worse. Acting with integrity and dignity usually pays off in the short-run and always pays off better in the long-run.

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