A backstabber is someone — whether a friend, family member or co-worker — who is assumed trustworthy but who figuratively attacks when one's back is turned.
This is a common practice in everyday life, but how does one deal with it when it happens in the workplace?
The more efficient or the more you are liked in your office, the more likely you are to encounter people who will go out their way to cast you in a bad light.
Here are some tips for dealing with untrustworthy co-workers:
- Don't overshare or don't be too honest. If someone has it in for you, chances are your words will be twisted to suit his or her own needs, or simply used against you.
- Avoid gossiping, but don't remove yourself from the grapevine. It's important to keep an ear on the ground so that potential backstabbers know their malicious actions will eventually become known to you.
- Know your neighbour. Just because someone is friendly doesn't mean they have good intentions. The backstabbers are usually the ones who play in everyone's sandbox — invite or not.
- Choose your workplace battles. Not everyone is worthy of your time or a response.
- Confront the backstabber without being aggressive, and thank him or her for finally introducing you to their other face.
- Escalate the matter to management or human resources. Depending on the lengths he or she may have gone to, or how often, you need to know when to turn to the corporate system to weigh in on the matter.
And remember, what Susie says of Sally says more of Susie than of Sally. In other words, it's not your job to stop people from talking about you, but it's important to not let their behaviour compromise yours.