How to respond when a colleague is sabotaging your work
If you often find yourself going into defence mode at work – not getting the credit you deserve, needing to justify what you do, or getting left in the lurch – you are likely a victim of workplace sabotage.
Unfortunately, as such attempts can come across subtly, there’s often no way of telling someone is actually trying to sabotage you. So, how can you really find out if you’re being sabotaged? Or if maybe you’re just overly sensitive?
Here’s a list of things you can do to deal with the matter:
Keep a record of how often this happens
When encountering unpleasant situations, our minds tend to stretch these experiences to make us believe they go on for longer than they really did. When trying to remember the frequency of such occurrences, your gut feeling is probably the last thing you should rely on, which means that a physical record will be helpful in this instance. It can be as simple as noting down how often this happens in a week or month. If it’s getting too much for you to ignore, you can always point back to the records to justify your claim.
Do a self-check
These instances of sabotage rarely ever mean you had no part to play. If you’ve ever wondered why your colleague has picked you as a target, consider assessing yourself inwardly. What could have triggered your colleague’s behavior? Could there have been a potential misunderstanding between the both of you? If so, make the step and try to sort it out.
It’s not always on purpose
Everyone is learning and growing in their career journey. As much as you might think your colleague is out to get you, never discount the possibility that their behavior is unintentional. Be a good leader and help your young colleague to learn to ropes.
Take it up with your colleague
If you find the sabotage slowly becoming a bottleneck for you and your work, and you know the perpetrator is the same person each time, it might be time to speak to that colleague. Bearing in mind that you do not want to create unneeded tension at work, the key is to keep the conversation positive and professional.
Say that you have noticed a recurring challenging behavior. Don’t be confrontational, but ask if there could have been a misunderstanding between the two of you that resulted in this situation. If at any point you think you might lose your cool, it’s best to step out of the conversation and clear your mind. Acting out of anger never ends well.
Escalate the matter to a superior
When push comes to shove and a peaceful and professional settlement isn’t an option anymore, then it’s probably time you highlight the matter to your manager. Ideally, you have mentioned this matter before, but with the intention to sort it out yourself. Your conversations with your manager should be kept confidential and civil, and a good manager will know the best approach towards conflict resolution.
Don’t spend your days thinking about minor issues. Take a step back and try to look objectively at the matter.