Solution Saturday: I’ve Been Stabbed in the Back

Dear Dan,

I built what I thought was a pretty solid relationship with some colleagues. Recently they hired a new person. Once she got comfortable she started becoming the backstabber. She quickly changed almost everyone’s perception of me. I could instantly see the attitude of people changing towards me.

I talked to my boss who stated that people felt intimidated by me. I recently applied for a leadership position only to be told that my people skills need to improve. We recently had a meeting to discuss the issues yet the backstabber said absolutely nothing.

This girl is damaging my career, but I am hoping that the boss noticed that she had nothing to say when we all were supposed to hash it out. I hope that earned me brownie points.




if others think you need to improve your people skills, you do.png

Dear Backstabbed,

Backstabbers are the lowest form of gossip in office life. I’m sorry you feel the knife.

10 ways to deal with a knife in your back:

  1. Don’t fight fire with fire. If you aren’t skilled at stabbing people in the back, you’ll lose every time. Plus, it’s unethical.
  2. Stay engaged. Don’t assume a protective posture. However, avoid being alone with your backstabber as much as possible.
  3. Keep your boss informed about your work. Send occasional status emails. “I just thought you might like to know….”
  4. Publicly celebrate your teammate’s contributions to projects you lead. Pat others on the back when they help you succeed.
  5. Perception is reality. If other’s think you need to improve your people skills, you do. Don’t resist – explore. Define problems and solutions in behavioral terms. Ask for examples. Clarify how others will know you’re moving in the right direction. It takes humility to adopt this approach, but the alternative won’t work.
  6. Don’t ask your boss or colleagues to chose sides. You want them to defend you. It’s clear they won’t.
  7. Extend kindness and courtesy to everyone in the office, especially your backstabber. Good manners are about you, not others.
  8. Get support from outside your organization.
  9. Build strong relationships with everyone you can.
  10. Sharpen your resume’.

You’re in a tough situation. It makes my stomach hurt to think about it.

Act in ways that are best for you and your organization.

What suggestions do you have for “painfully backstabbed”?

*Solution Saturday posts may exceed 300 words to allow readers to see large portions of the notes I receive.