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Handle a Sabotaging Coworker Effectively

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We would all like to get along with our colleagues. It makes for a better work environment and boosts the business as well. Sadly though, this is not always the case. Office politics can be a tricky business and it is not unusual to find yourself dealing with a coworker who seems out to sabotage you rather than help. If you are faced with this situation what should you do? Some tips:

Cover yourself – Taking precautions to protect yourself against a coworker with less than good intentions is a wise move. Keep written records for yourself of the work you do and the ideas you contribute. If a nefarious office mate should try to take the credit for something you did to get ahead, or worse tries to blame you for something you did not do, you have proof to back up your protests.

Ignore the Drama – A troublesome colleague is just that – someone out to distract, disturb and upset you. Maybe they would like your position, are competing with you for a certain promotion or simply want to be the office superstar and will step on everyone else to achieve their goals.  You do not have to be drawn into their dramatic world; do your job and try to avoid rising to any bait they set for you.

Laugh it off – This is not an easy thing to do but it can work. Instead of becoming angry at the situation and upsetting yourself try to find the humor in the situation. Take heart that you are obviously good enough at what you do that someone wants to spend time and energy on sabotaging your efforts in the first place.

Communicate – When all else fails confronting your co worker directly is the next step. Approach the situation calmly and ask them why they are doing what they are. The fact that they realize that they have been “caught out” may be enough to make them stop, or they may not even realize that their actions were out of line.

2 Comments

Roy

April 6, 2011

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I know of a particular incident where a woman coworker went out of her way to sabotage another person’s work record ( a male we’ll call person A) by two out and out fabricated lies. The first vicious lie this woman told was that person A (involved in a hospital ER sitiation) did not have things turn out well for the patient. This woman was not even involved nor present at that time reguarding this ER situation. The truth in fact was this ER situation turned out fine because of person’s A experience of 12 years in the field. The second lie this woman told (to her female supervisor this time) was that she overheard person A bad mouthing several hospital coworkers plus this woman supervisor—all during his cell phone converstaion. In brief this conversation on the cell phone by person A never took place. So you have a very devious woman here who obviously is mentally unbalanced and in my opinion, should be fired on the spot because she is a wack job. The problem here is that her hospital supervisor is spineless and lets too many things ride before any type of action gets taken. I’m hoping this wack job woman eventually gets canned for one too many lies.

Maggie

January 6, 2013

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I’m in a similar situation with a very scary co-worker from another group that has been by-passing procedures using my name which implies I had something to do with his actions. I have emails and system audit trails showing he made system changes and his own response in writing he did not make the change. When I presented this to my boss she told me to talk to him. This is not the first time this individual went around procedures, in the past I have sent courtesy reminders to him. He does not report to me. My boss is not willing to address it with his boss. How do I protect myself when he uses my name? I have spoken with his boss (new to the company) in general about this team’s access to the system recommending since they are a quality oversight group they should have read only access. She seems to be moving in support of this direction. However, while I was on holiday this employee entered a change request on another system getting Technology to change extract restrictions to open for all. Once again he used my name. If it were not for Technology sending a confirmation email, I would not have known he did this. Now I’m going to followup with Technology and get in writing when the request was made and by who and ask them to take my name off of it. This scary co-worker started out as a contract project manager giving him access to systems he should no longer have since his being hired into a specific more limited role. Even without access he manages to bully people into doing his dirty work for him. I’m very concerned my employer is not protecting me from this hostile situation. All I know to do is take one incident at a time but the stress of having to watch my back and document extensively everything I do when dealing with this individual is weighing very heavy on me. I’m considering counseling through the company program and possibly HR. Any advice?

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