Manage a saboteur at work

Not everyone you work with is going to have your best interest in mind. If you suspect a co-worker is trying to sabotage your work or advancement opportunities, follow this advice:

  • Be modest. If you brag, you put a target on your back. Instead, give credit to the people who help you along the way. Also, be sure to share your struggles along with your successes.
  • Include the person. If you feel a co-worker is truly out to get you, invite the person to meetings, social events and so on. If you spend time with the person, you may discover that your concerns are unfounded—or you may convince him or her that you don’t deserve their disdain or attacks.
  • Confront the saboteur. In a respectful, but direct, manner, point out specific behaviors you have observed, explain how they affect you, and ask for an explanation. Example: “You gave me the wrong time for the safety meeting, and I missed it. What happened?”
  • Don’t be careless. Watch what you say and do around the person, shut down your computer, protect your passwords, and verify that anything the person tells you is accurate.
  • Listen to your gut. As a last step, if you have a bad feeling about a co-worker, don’t ignore it. Collect evidence that the person truly is trying to damage your reputation or career. Then, go to your boss or HR for help to resolve the issue.

— Adapted from “What to Do When a Coworker Tries to Make You Look Bad,” Stephanie Vozza, Fast Company,