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Dealing with manipulators and backstabbers at work

, March 1, 2013, 2 Comments

Almost everyone in almost every setting; be it work, home or your friends circle knows of a manipulator and a backstabber. These people are cowards who want you take the risks and only step in when things get comfortable. What’s more, they will actually take credit for the success and step back when the axe falls and the project fails.

Every leader and employee must always be on the lookout for these types at work. Sometimes they are difficult to recognize; they are friendly and pretend to be on your side. Other times you would be naive not to identify a manipulator and a backstabber. These are the ones whispering negative remarks about bosses and colleagues into your ear. When, what you tell someone in confidence or as a secret is either played back to you or made his/her own idea/information then, you are dealing with a manipulator and backstabber.

  • Be wary of those who have a history of displaying manipulative behavior.
  • Be careful when disclosing sensitive information to these people. Never allow these types to know your weaknesses.
  • Don’t let them know about your grievances about a project, colleague or the boss. The repercussions can be nasty.

One way of dealing with manipulators and backstabbers: The secret is ‘transparency’.

When leaders are open and honest about the goings-on in a project or program of work, the grapevine is curbed and no fodder is available for manipulators. There is no room for manipulators to whip up a story and possibly play one against another or pretend to have all the information. Developing a transparent work culture and work ethic becomes a responsibility of leaders and employees. Leaders must share everything there is to know about a project and employees must not hesitate to ask questions when clarity is needed. Go straight to the source whenever possible.

Become and be transparent before it is too late…

Have you met a manipulator? How did you deal with this person?

  • Anoop

    This is an issue of absolute relevance! Good one. In my previous org, you won’t believe it, but our whole team reeled under a manipulator and his shenanigans. That the boss was gossip hungry and impressionable certainly didn’t help things!

    • Aarti Iyer

      A leader needs to rise above gossip and mischief. Sad that we land up working with such people and even call them ‘boss’!