How to deal with a sabotaging colleague


Picture: Getty Images

Do you have a colleague who tries to sabotage you and your work? In addition to setting very clear boundaries, it is important to establish a game plan moving forward to secure your reputation and position.

First thing’s first

The best way to deal with this type of coworker is to reduce or minimize all in-person, phone, and online interaction.

If possible, request to work with other colleagues on group projects.

Take lunch and coffee breaks with others present. Lock your computer and file cabinet when away from your desk.

And, avoid any non-work related outings with this individual.

Establish a game plan

When you do interact, keep track of those communications by creating an electronic paper trail.

For instance, if you send an email, copy your boss or another team member so that you have proof of the dialogue.

If you come up with an idea and are afraid that your coworker will take credit for it, let your boss know that it was your idea by including her in the email chain.

Creative language will help you to save face and demonstrate a team-first approach. For instance, “Pam, per the Boss’ directive, I look forward to working with you on this project. As we discussed, my idea is to [xyz]. Boss, I’m copying you here to ensure we’re on the same page. I’m glad that we are moving forward with my suggested design.”

Secure your reputation

No one likes a complainer.

Still, it is vital to speak up and to serve as your own biggest advocate.

Bring evidence when speaking up to your boss or HR. Strive to remain constructive in your comments.

Consider language like, “I want to be as productive as possible. It is difficult for me to meet daily goals when Pam [xyz].”

Take the high road

Remember that it is possible for both of you to succeed without stepping on one another.

Lead by example.

Be alert and polite while protecting yourself and your reputation.

When possible, take emotion out of the situation.

Steer clear of drama so that you may spend more time focusing on your personal and professional objectives.

Remember that bullies often move to a new target when they do not receive a desired reaction.

Amy Cooper Hakim, Ph.D., is an industrial-organizational psychology practitioner and workplace expert. She is a speaker, author, and the executive consultant and founder of The Cooper Strategic Group. Twitter: @amycooperhakim

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn and is reprinted with permission. 

About the author
Premium

The essential resource for effective public sector leaders

Can you afford to miss the next briefing from Mandarin Premium? Sign up today.

Get Premium Today