How can you deal with a colleague who is trying to sabotage you?
Every workplace has all kinds of people. You will definitely come across the good, the bad, and the ones that are harder to handle than usual. The good ones will be your friends at the workplace, the bad ones will be the ones you interact with professionally only. However, it is the ones who are harder to handle that make life at work difficult. They will be the ones you try to avoid but will be after your career and life. Basically, a colleague who is trying to sabotage you. The underlying intentions are insidious and quite threatening.
So who are these people?
If a colleague repeatedly withholds critical information from you, or shoots down your ideas in meetings without a reason, the red flags are already up. They may start rumors about you or gossip about you. They may refuse to help or give advice when you ask for it, or even try to make you look bad in front of the boss.
You must know that the person means harm and is a colleague who is trying to sabotage you. While these are all direct signs of a person who is trying to sabotage you at work, you should also keep a lookout for indirect signs. If you do not receive a promotion or a hike that you were entitled to get soon, or if you are suddenly alienated by your colleagues, or if your boss is constantly nit-picking at your work—know that there may be a coworker behind these sudden changes.
Why do people do this?
It may be because they feel threatened by your position in the organization. They may be intimidated by your skills at work. They may be doing it out of insecurity. Some might do it just out of spite, without a reason. There need not be any reasons for such spite, because it’s not necessary to like everyone you work with. However, crossing the line is when you try to sabotage them. And these people clearly have.
So what do you do when a colleague is trying to sabotage you? Here are some tips on how to deal with it.
Do not assume bad intentions
Try to figure out the reason as to why a colleague is trying to sabotage you. It might be that the person does not have a bad intention behind their actions, or that they are not even aware of how they are sabotaging your career.
Maybe the person is just having a bad day or a bad time. Give the coworker the benefit of the doubt. If you think that the person is doing this out of spite and go about distrusting others, you will end up creating a miserably unhappy business atmosphere. You should be sure that your colleague is trying to hurt your career before you do something about the situation.
It is important that you be alert of what is happening around you, so that you can gauge if someone is actually trying to sabotage your career. Or, check if you reading the signs incorrectly. Notice if you didn’t get that raise you were promised or if colleagues are acting differently around you.
Talk to a coworker about it
It is essential that you confide in a coworker you trust about what is happening. Tell them what you intend to do about it. The person will be able to give you a third person’s perspective on the whole scenario. You can ask them for their opinion.
Document any instances of sabotage that you observe. Keep a track of what you observe and what things are changing around you at the workplace. Take notes, if you must. Preserve some proof—emails, professional chats, etc., where you may be able to prove to higher authorities about how the coworker is sabotaging you at the workplace, if need be.
Confront the coworker
Open up the lines of communication. It is better that you confront and talk to your co-worker before you take any other drastic steps. Talk to the person, figure out why they are acting like the way they are, try to reason with them and tell them about how it is harming your career. Fix a time to talk to them and tell them that you would like to meet with them privately to sort out some issues.
Don’t take revenge
Do not go about sabotaging the coworker who is sabotaging you. Make sure your colleagues know that you are an approachable person, always willing to help others, to offer advice, and an affable person in general. Be the bigger person. Do not seek revenge against the person who is trying to sabotage you.
Involve higher authorities
If things go out of hand, talk to your boss or involve the Human Resource manager in things. Talk to them about what is happening and how you feel about it. Try to find a solution without any major implications on the coworker’s position in the company or your own. Make sure you have all the proof you need to show them if in case they do not believe your words.
Develop a workplace code of conduct
It is important that every workplace has a code of conduct that is communicated to each employee, and that every employee follows it. By clearly outlining the behaviors that are accepted and not accepted in the workplace, you’ll have something to refer to when an employee gets out of line. Your code of conduct code may include directions about what employees can and cannot reveal about the company in social media and other outside outlets, how they deal with the press, and how employees are expected to treat one another.
Keep your options open
If a situation is toxic and isn’t improving, perhaps you shouldn’t be there. Start looking for other jobs, where you will be able to work peacefully. You may also be able to get enough opportunities to advance in your career. There is no point of continuing at a workplace where someone is after your life trying to sabotage your career. Because in such a situation, the option of making progress in your professional life is out.
These are ways to handle a colleague who is trying to sabotage you.