Everyone in the group nodded in agreement when I asked if they had experienced someone pretending to help them while at the same time cutting them down. The group consisted of a business owner, a director, some managers and others. Every one of them had experienced the smiling backstabber tearing them down under the guise of being helpful. Funny how sweet-backstabbers end up making themselves look good at your expense.
So what can you do when
you’ve been sliced and diced?
Get better at office politics. I’m not talking about manipulating people. I’m talking about humbly letting others know about your successes.
OK, how can you “humbly” let others know about your success?
Three ways to play fair at office politics.
1. Honor everyone who contributed to your success.
2. Express gratitude for the opportunity to succeed.
3. Pass along praise from your clients and colleagues.
Whatever you do, avoid self-defeating behaviors like seeking revenge.
What other strategies can you suggest for dealing with sweet backstabbers?
Although it took me some time & distance, I have been able to recognize important lessons I learned from the knife wielder – how “not” to manage people, how important it is to respect everyone and life is too short to stay in a miserable job!
Learning lessons from the knife wielder. That can be one of the hardest things to do. I’m sure your word here is encouraging to others.
This is coming from a pretty cynical current point of view, but I think “sweet backstabbing” or even “nasty bitter overt backstabbing” reflects a corporate culture that somehow has missed the boat on a shared sense of vision, mission and values. If that is happening and people with good ideas and initiatives are getting brushed off due to power plays, there is a leadership void.
I hear you on that one. I think some leaders choose to accept certain levels of tension within the ranks. They only intervene if productivity drops. Others like to jump in and put an end to all the bull. If one doesn’t jump in, things may go along ok but the long term impact will be negative. Thanks for your insights.
How to identify such people at the earliest to avoid excessive bleeding!
Always good to play fair! I also agree with Paula and Dan that a leadership void frequently allows the problem to perpetuate, at least until productivity suffers. However, I also feel that the “stabbers” often use the behavior as a control mechanism to achieve a perceived control of others or uncomfortable situations.
I’m glad you joined the conversation. Thank you for making your first comment on Leadership Freak. Your comments about control add an interesting component to the conversation. I look forward to hearing more from you on future posts.
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I deal with it a lot at where I work, and one of the things I have learned from this is to pretty much stay clear. I can choose not to associate with those because in the end they are going to look stupid. I like what you talked about regarding giving praise to those who help you succeed. I think in every organization there will always be those who want to get ahead at the expense of backstabbing someone else. but somewhere along the line they will be held accountable for their own mistakes. I might not get ahead at place “a”, but I will get ahead at a better more upbeat place “b”.
Thanks for leaving part of your story for the LF community.
Love your approach and attitude.
Dan, I appreciate how you turned this around to what people can do to de-fang the backstabber. Methinks sometimes people set themselves up as targets by being TOO “humble”. Making sure you “quietly advertise” your accomplishments makes it harder for backstabbers to succeed at putting you down.
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