The Performance Pro

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Every once in awhile, there appears someone in our life who can be hurtful, and downright mean. This is the person, perhaps a coworker, who is all smiles and friendly when they are with you, but the minute you turn your back, you get it. He shares a confidence you shared, may repeat things you said or talk to your boss or your other coworkers about you. While you suspect is happening, often a true friend will confirm and alert you to the fact that this is happening.

Realize that usually this is an individual who is focused 100% on his own agenda and is probably dealing with some fears, insecurities, or anger-- and he doesn’t care who he has to hurt to reach his own goals. Unfortunately he can seriously damage your reputation along the way – say nothing about your feelings and performance. So, what can you do?

1. If the individual’s behavior is observed and experienced by others, join forces. Propose a plan that you join forces in. The next time the Backstabber says something about ‘Sharon’ who is not present; those who are present can respond: “I’m sure Sharon had good intentions;” or, “I would hope that no one would ever really think that way” or “I just don’t care to listen to your negative judgments anymore.” When the Backstabber realizes he has no allies to fuel his venom, it may stop him in his tracks.

2. If you determine you are on your own. Avoid him. When you can’t avoid him, watch what you say. Do not share your opinion or any information that could be used to sabotage you.

3. Find a private opportunity with the back stabber when you can confront him. You just need a few moments. Set you emotions aside and remain composed-- don’t show anger or make a threat. Then look him in the eye and say, “Don’t ever do that again.” Backs tabbers will usually plead innocence, just expect it. Simply restate your position. “Don’t ever do that again.” You will be sending the message that you will not tolerate this type of behavior.

4. Keep documentation of the things he does. It may come in handy one day.

5. If the behavior continues or you feel it is affecting your performance, you need to talk with your supervisor. Give him specific instances. Explain what the Backstabber’s strategy has been with you and why you are distancing yourself from him. He may or may not already know, but having your insight may prompt a solution. At the very least he will appreciate having a better understanding of what is going on.


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