10 Ways to Deal with Two-Faced Backstabbers

Most people want to do good, but a few enjoy doing bad. If you’ve been thrown under the bus, you know what I mean.

Skillful backstabbers feign friendship, but they live on the fringes of social protocol.

The heart of a backstabber:

  1. A deep need to win might result in helping others fail.
  2. Unwillingness to acknowledge weakness might cause mask wearing and knife wielding.
  3. Refusing to admit mistakes or failures might end with throwing someone else under the bus.
  4. Inordinate desire for personal advancement might produce under-the-bus-throwing motivation.

10 Ways to Deal with Two-Faced Backstabbers

#1. Communicate quickly.

Backstabbers use delay as an opportunity to spread toxicity.

When something goes wrong, bring it up with forward-facing curiosity.

Address confusion as soon as you notice it.

Clarity eliminates opportunity for backstabbers to spread infection.

#2. Communicate publicly.

When decisions are made with the team, don’t allow someone to change the decision in private.

#3. Send follow-up emails. “I’m just following up on our recent conversation.

It’s my understanding that:

  1. We are working to achieve…
  2. My contribution is…
  3. Your contribution is…
  4. We’ll follow up on…”

#4. Include others. Avoid one-on-ones. Have two-on-ones.

#5. Speak with positive intention. What good are you working to achieve?

#6. Avoid defensiveness. Embrace your strengths.

#7. Control your own behavior and reputation. Don’t sabotage yourself by acting below your best.

#8. Don’t expect backstabbers to apologize or feel remorse.

Backstabbers enjoy throwing people under the bus. Any apology is meant to disarm you so they can twist the blade.

#9. Assign backstabbers to work with other backstabbers.

#10. Don’t try to convince higher-ups that a two-faced colleague is a backstabber.

Successful backstabbers know how to pull the wool over people’s eyes. The whole point of being two-faced is to curry favor with one person while stabbing another.

How might leaders deal with backstabbers?

How might leaders spot two-faced backstabbers?