Many Execs Fall Prey to Coworker Sabotage
Here’s how to keep it from happening to you
Do you suspect someone at work is trying to sink your career? You’re not alone, new research from staffing firm The Creative Group suggests. Nearly one-third (31%) of advertising and marketing executives interviewed said a colleague has tried to make them look bad on the job. But it seems fewer professionals are engaging in this type of ill behavior: This figure is down from 50% in a similar study conducted in 2008.
When executives were asked how best to deal with a sabotaging coworker, 41% said to confront the person directly; 70% of respondents felt the same way in 2008. Another 40% of executives believe notifying the individual’s manager or human resources is the ideal solution, up from 10% seven years ago.
“Some professionals are so competitive that they’ll do just about anything to get ahead,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. “Being able to handle challenging or difficult coworkers: and maintaining healthy working relationships: is crucial for career success, particularly in environments that require a great deal of collaboration.”
The Creative Group identifies three types of sabotaging coworkers and strategies for dealing with them:
- Credit thieves boldly steal others’ ideas and grab the glory when initiatives succeed. To help combat this, keep a written record of your activities and accomplishments, and give your manager frequent project status updates.
- Belittlers routinely tear others down with put-downs and demeaning remarks to build themselves up. Because these individuals will often back off if you stand up for yourself, try refuting their criticism, using facts where possible.
- Sly sharks have a knack for leaving colleagues in the lurch. Their tactics aren’t always overt, so you may not realize you’re working with one until a critical deadline arrives. That’s when you discover you’re unable to complete your part of a project because the sabotaging coworker has withheld important information. To prevent this situation, make sure roles and responsibilities on your team are defined clearly, and insist on regular check-in meetings so sly sharks can’t take advantage of lapses in oversight.
View an infographic of the survey findings.
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