Have you ever encountered a backstabber in the workplace? Your there to make a paycheck and do a good job, but some people can make life at work miserable. How do you handle a situation at work when your livelihood is on the line?

Since the beginning of time, people have experienced personality clashes. Remember the Biblical story of Cain and Abel? Their jealousy and resentment were so intense that Cain killed his brother. Of course, your office drama will not likely escalate to that height.

But some people do go to great lengths to get ahead.

Spotting the Backstabber

You can’t pack up and leave every time someone offends you, but you can better prepare yourself for dealing with these types of colleagues. To thwart any office drama, you must be on the lookout for the backstabber. Here are some ways to see through their actions and spot their mischievous nature.

1. Undermine You and Your Work

The backstabber has one goal, and that is to make themselves look good. They have no problem undermining you or the work you do to look superior. If they can damage or weaken others’ opinion of you, then they can set the stage to make themselves look good.

They may offer constant critiques of your work and try to show you their way of doing things. They will go to the boss in a heartbeat to point out that you’re not doing your share or doing something wrong. In all actuality, they’re only trying to cover up for their mistakes.

2. Always Asking You for Help

It’s hard enough to do the work you’ve been assigned, but if a person is continuously asking you to pick up for their slack, they are guilting you to handle their responsibilities. They may complain that they’re having a hard time at home or issues with health problems.

If you fall for this trap, then you will take the fall when things aren’t done right or according to the specifications the supervisor laid out. Then, they will find some way to turn the blame onto you. Handle this by telling them that you’re glad they think you are helpful, but you are swamped and cannot handle it anymore.

Don’t ever fall into the trap of telling this person anything as they will use it against you in the end.

3. They’re Resentful and Difficult to Work With

Sometimes it takes a little while to realize who is a backstabber and slick about covering it up. In most cases, this person may be well-liked and intelligent. However, they really don’t work well in a team environment.

This person looks out after number one. If you ever upset them, then you will walk on eggshells waiting for their retaliation. When dealing with these kinds of people, make sure you document everything.

They will use any chance they get to get revenge on you if it means covering their butt.

4. Spreading Rumors Behind Your Back

This person is a backstabber and a liar. They will take credit for work you’ve done, and they won’t think twice about spreading things about you that are false. They are often jealous of others, and their envious nature causes them to do things that aren’t scrupulous.

If you get a promotion that they feel they should’ve received, then they will do anything to get back at you. Don’t put up with the liar. Take any issues you have with them straight to management.

5. Part of the Toxic Rumor-Mill

Gossip is something that everyone engages in occasionally. Why is it that the chatter that happens around the water cooler at work is always the juiciest? Keep in mind that there is a difference between having a trusted conversation with a colleague and then just spreading toxic rumors among the masses.

How can you handle being the topic of discussion when you find out you’re targeted? It’s best to go right to the source and tell them what you’ve heard and how you feel. Find the start of the rumor and put it to rest. If they are still determined to talk about your business or spread untruths, let management handle it.

spreading rumors
6. Always Sucking Up to the Boss

Why is it that whether you’re in grade school or working at a multi-million-dollar company, the suck-up is the one that puts a bad taste in your mouth? They long to be the teacher’s pet and get in tight with the boss. The purpose is to get a raise, a higher position, or know the company’s ins and outs.

This “brown noser” is classically found in any office across this country. Please don’t get in their way as they schmooze the boss, or they will stab you in the back and not think twice about it.

7. Taking Credit for Your Work

Have you ever had someone steal your ideas at work and then take all the credit? They may talk smack about you behind your back, but they butter you up to your face to get more great advice. This is disrespectful and a stab in the back.

The way to combat this kind of trader is to work closely and tell your supervisor about your new ideas and thoughts on any projects. If they try to take credit for your work, the supervisor will quickly smell a rat. It’s obvious they’re envious of your abilities and want to share in that wealth of knowledge.

8. Demoralize the Whole Team by Micromanaging

No one likes the micromanager, especially when it’s a coworker. This person is a bit narcissistic and thinks that they’re the only one that knows the right way to do things. They are watching over your shoulder and eager to report any misdoings to management.

No one likes a micromanager, but you expect this behavior from a supervisor and not a fellow worker. People tend to micromanage when they have a fear of losing control of something. First, you must ensure nothing you’re doing needs managed.

Are you showing up for work on time and not missing any deadlines? You can counteract this person who wishes to stab you in the back by ensuring that you’re always ahead of the game. If you build confidence and trust in your management team, then they won’t have any issues, no matter what is reported to them.

Remember, a boss doesn’t like someone who micromanages others as they are overstepping into management territory.

9. Overreacts When Stressed or Challenged

Manipulative people and will stab you in the back are often those that will overreact to the smallest things. Some may call them the office hothead because when things don’t go their way, they won’t hesitate to throw you under the bus. When they are stressed or challenged, you will see them turn on everyone around them to save face.

Dealing with the office hothead is never easy. They can pull you into their disputes with their negative energy. Think of them much like a toddler having a temper tantrum. Since you know they have the potential to be dangerous, don’t react at the moment.

Once things have calmed down, talk to them about the issues directly. Please don’t give them the satisfaction of being drawn into their tantrum. Wait till things are over and set things straight.

10. They Don’t Work Well with Others

The classic backstabber won’t work well with others. While they strive hard to be the person everyone likes; eventually, their true colors come shining through. Another trick is that they will play the office martyr. This person wants to take on the most significant workload to prove that they’re the ones that work harder than everyone else.

Taking on a significant load can negatively impact productivity as they will use their workload to undermine the other workers. They brag about how much they’re getting done while others are doing the bare minimum. This person has serious confidence issues.

They want all the focus to be on them, but it should never be about one person when you work as a team. Don’t give them the satisfaction of making you feel less than when it comes to your work. If management is okay with your work, then don’t play into this person’s toxic attitude.

Final Thoughts on Recognizing Backstabbers for Who They Are

The thing that you must understand when dealing with manipulative and deceitful people is that there is almost always control issues that stem from insecurity. When they envy a position you have or the type of work you do, then they will do anything in their power to make you look bad.

It’s not personal as they will act this way with anyone that gets in their path. They need to be validated and to stand out for doing a superior job. Don’t fall for their traps. If you see any of these red flags, then you need to set them straight.

If talking to them gets you nowhere and causes a real issue, you need to bring management into the equation. The chances are that management already knows all about this person and that they’re a backstabber. They’re not going to be surprised by anything you have to say.

The goal is to stay out of this toxic person’s path. Go to work, do your job, and go home. The less you get involved with the manipulative people there, the better off you’ll be.