Although you’ve been hoping that it’s not true, you’ve come to a point where you can no longer ignore the fact that your coworker is trying to sabotage you. There may be various reasons why this person has chosen to act in this way. Perhaps you’re competing for the same promotion, they feel threatened by you, or are envious of your accomplishments.
Whatever the reason, it’s important that you learn how to deal with sabotaging coworkers. An employee bad-mouthing another employee is more serious than regular office gossip. Sabotage can lead to a loss of self-esteem, career fulfillment, and credibility in the workplace. To help you deal with such a situation, I have listed 11 useful tips on how to stop someone from sabotaging you.
Read More: 20 Signs You Are Being Sabotaged At Work
1. Keep Your Side Clean
If you’re suspecting or know that a coworker is sabotaging you, you need to ensure that your work performance is impeccable. Remember, a saboteur is constantly focusing on finding fault with you and will even stoop so low as to tell lies to paint you in a bad light.
If you provide them with evidence that proves that what they’re saying about you is actually true, you will obviously weaken your position.
So keep your head high and your side clean. The best way to do so is to be organized and disciplined. Be proactive about the aspects of your job that you sometimes struggle with.
For instance, if you’re not good with deadlines, be diligent about creating a daily schedule and sticking to it. Submit all work tasks ahead of time and ensure that the quality of your work is impeccable.
2. Be Honest With Yourself
Although there’s never a good reason to sabotage a coworker, it’s advisable to rationally consider the allegations against you and to be honest with yourself regarding whether there’s some truth in them.
The aim of this exercise is not to excuse the behavior of the saboteur, but rather to strengthen your position and ensure that you’re not inadvertently causing some of the problems you’re facing.
If the saboteur feels threatened by you or thinks that you’ve wronged them, is there anything that you can do to alleviate the situation?
For instance, perhaps you’re new in your position and are proposing changes to your department without considering how other employees may react to such changes.
If so, you may find that showing a bit more respect and consideration towards coworkers, even if your proposed changes are completely valid, may make for a happier and more harmonious workplace.
3. Don’t Lose Confidence
While it’s important to acknowledge where you can possibly improve your behavior or performance at work, it’s equally important that you keep believing in yourself. Even if you realize that there are ways in which you can improve, you have by no means failed in your job or deserve to be sabotaged.
When someone tries to make you look bad at work, you may even start to lose confidence in your own ability despite the fact that you’re completely blameless.
Don’t allow this to happen, since you will be making your saboteur’s life much easier. Remember, people pick up on each other’s energy.
If your self-esteem starts to erode, your managers and coworkers will consciously or subconsciously start to notice.
Human nature dictates that people are attracted to those who exude confidence and happiness. Ensure that you keep coworkers and management on your side by remaining steadfast and trusting in your own ability. Remember, you are being sabotaged because the saboteur is likely feeling threatened by you.
4. Don’t Isolate
Being sabotaged is a tricky situation to deal with. While you don’t want to draw too much attention to the saboteur or waste too much time getting involved in their petty games, you still need to act in a proactive way.
Depending on your personality, your immediate reaction when being harassed at work could be to withdraw and become suspicious of everyone around you.
This is not the way to go. Although coworkers may have their imperfections, chances are that most of them prefer to work in a happy and harmonious environment.
If you reach out to them and are friendly and supportive, you’ll find that most people will react to you in a positive way. Make it difficult for your saboteur to spread untrue rumors about you by honing strong relationships around you and ensuring that coworkers know who you are and what you stand for.
5. Communicate With Your Boss
While the last thing you want to do is to go running to your manager complaining about how miserable your saboteur is making your life, you need to keep communication channels open with them.
If your saboteur has your manager’s ear and you’re just slinking around in the background hoping the problem will go away, your problem is likely to get worse.
Managers are only human and often very busy. If your saboteur is persistent and clever, your manager’s perceptions of you may over time become skewed.
Ensure that you adequately represent your side of the story by communicating with your boss on a regular basis. Be proactive, rather than pushy, by mailing your manager regular updates or asking for a short meeting on a regular basis just to touch base.
6. Ignore the Saboteur as Much as Possible
It will irritate and derail your saboteur if you keep your positive attitude and continue with your daily tasks and habits as you’ve always done, despite their best efforts to drag you down to their level.
I am not suggesting that you should remain entirely passive while your saboteur harasses you. You definitely need to take steps to stop their attempts to harm your reputation, as outlined in the other tips I mention in this list on how to stop someone from sabotaging you.
However, getting angry or allowing the saboteur’s actions to get to you and affect your mood and work performance will count in their favor.
If you start to react on an emotional level each time the saboteur attacks you, whether this is by spreading rumors or manipulating others to turn against you, they have gained the upper hand and are essentially controlling you. It is important that you don’t become involved in their game.
Try to keep your distance from them as much as possible by deleting them from your social media and staying away from people who are close to them.
7. Focus on Your Job
One of the most effective ways to prevent yourself from falling into the trap of getting involved in the petty scheming and manipulative games of your saboteur is to simply focus on your job.
Make a conscious effort daily to focus on the good aspects of your job and also appreciate your coworkers. In this way, a saboteur’s efforts to harm your career can actually have the complete opposite effect, since their actions may force you to see your job and those who are actually on your side in a completely new light.
Work harder than you’ve ever done before, and aim to enjoy your job. Your positive attitude and strong work ethic will be infectious and will draw people to you.
Being happy, successful, and popular is the best way to defend yourself against a saboteur.
8. Define Your Goals and Work Towards Them
Another way to ensure that you don’t become embroiled in the petty schemes of a saboteur is to keep your eye on the bigger picture. Remember that your current position is not your whole life but rather a stepping stone towards achieving your goals.
In the event that you’ve actually slacked off in the last few years regarding setting goals and working towards them, a sabotage attempt by a coworker may actually propel you into action again.
To ensure that you’re focusing on the bigger picture, write down your goals and decide on actionable steps you can take to achieve them. Many people also swear by a vision board. Download images of the house you want, how you want to look, the vacations you want to have, and your ideal partner, and paste them on your vision board.
Doing so will provide you with purpose and motivation. Focusing on these things is a much better way of spending your time than participating in your saboteur’s games.
9. Maintain a Paper Trail
When the saboteur gives you instructions or makes claims, respond over email summarizing the key points and asking for confirmation that you understood correctly.
Log all verbal interactions in a work journal, detailing what was said, when, and by who. Email yourself scanned entries periodically so there is an electronic timestamp. Though handwritten notes help, they can be denied later.
Check if work emails auto-delete after a set time and save important ones to your computer, ideally on a cloud backup. That way, if your device fails, the evidence is preserved separately.
The saboteur may try to dismiss your side by attacking your credibility. But calmly produced documentation makes gaslighting difficult. Stick to the facts – they speak for themselves.
10. Keep Your Sense of Humor
An employee sabotaging other employees can make things quite stressful in the workplace. If you’re in a sabotage situation, it’s only normal to feel more anxious and paranoid than normal. After all, your job and reputation are at stake.
The best way to counter these negative feelings is to train yourself to see the lighter side of life. Becoming overly serious about everything won’t serve you well.
I recommend that you actually make peace with the worst-case scenario, such as possibly losing your job because of the saboteur’s actions. Although you should by no means allow them to sabotage you in such a way, the idea is to rid yourself of fear. Also, make a concerted effort to bring laughter and some humor into your daily life, whether you do so by watching a funny TikTok video or enjoying a beer with a friend.
- 19 Most Effective Ways To Develop A Good Sense Of Humor And Impress Others
- 10 Reasons Having a Good Sense of Humor Is a Must in Workplace
11. Look After Yourself
As I stated above, it can be very stressful to have to deal with sabotage at work. To ensure that you stay fighting fit and strong through the ordeal, you need to look after yourself, both mentally and physically. Aim to eat nutritious and healthy meals and also make time to exercise regularly.
Doing so will provide you with the necessary energy to get through your day and will also help you sleep better. When you’re trying to keep your mind positive, meditation is an effective tool.
Yoga is also a great way to destress and revitalize your body and mind. If you’re wondering how to stop someone from sabotaging you, always remember that being healthy and happy is a great way to counter their attempts.