All of sudden, the room becomes quiet when you entered the room, you hear people murmuring behind your back, and your realise your name was being removed from that important presentation you have worked hard on.

Backstabbing is an unpleasant experience that might damage your reputation at the workplace, whether it comes from a new competitor, old co-worker, or close colleague. Not only it hurts you emotionally and mentally, but it will also put your career and credibility at ghastly risks. Ironically, what makes it worse, backstabbing is often done by people we trust the most.

Corporate culture is naturally highly competitive that it might make people more than willing to throw someone under the bus to get the promotion and projects they want. People engage in backstabbing behaviours due to high ambitions combined with their own insecurities. They think that by bringing someone else down, their position will remain safely secured.

There are several signs to tell that you are likely becoming the victim of a backstabber at work. Here are three primary red alerts you should notice:

Red Alert No.1: When you feel that your co-worker is subtly trying to get you fired, then maybe they really are. Sometimes, our intuition helps us in identifying that something is not right.

Red Alert No.2: You hear something bad about yourself from others. When gossips spread around the office, there must be rumourmongers who is trying to throw you down.

Red Alert No.3: You found out that your project was being credited to another. There must be credit thieves at work who steal your effort and idea for their own sake and glory.

Are you in any of the above situations if not all?

If you face such situations, there are three steps you can do to deal with the backstabber.

Step 1: Evaluate the situation. If you continuously feel something hostile coming at you, take some time to assess the whole situation. Why do people act like that towards you? Contemplate on what you have done and the efforts you have brought along with. If you think that you do not deserve such treatment, you need to be cautious of any probabilities.

Step 2: Identify the suspect. Every misdemeanour must be originating from somewhere. When you have understood the situation, you need to identify the suspect. If you hear a nasty rumour about you, ask your co-workers where or who they heard it from. Compare what people are saying with the truth you hold to examine how far the rumour has gone. For example, if someone discredits you for not being helpful in the team’s projects, gather proofs that say the opposite. Do not overreact to any rumour because it will only please the backstabber to see you being in pain. Stay calm while collecting clues that lead to the backstabber’s identity.

Step 3: The third step is the most important of all – Approach the backstabber. It is important to confront the backstabber face to face so that you can clear the air.  However, no matter how angry, upset, furious, and full of wrath you are, you need to stay calm and control your tone. Do not let your emotions ruin your strength because backstabber tends to have a manipulative personality who can turn back the facts. Avoid using rude words and aggressive behaviours because it will make them feel threatened and spiteful instead.  After speaking your thoughts, listen to their response and find out the best solution together.

It is also good to have the HR person or the superior around during the talk so that there is an impartial view on the current situation and work together to solve this disharmony.

Next read: 7 Tell-tale Signs It’s Time for You to Quit

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