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Working with sneaky, backstabbing, sabotaging, jealous, and generally toxic coworkers can be completely soul-destroying.
Their behavior can hold you back from performing at your best, cause you to feel down – and even drive you to want to leave.
Don’t despair, here are 11 tips to help you deal with sneaky coworkers!
11 Ways How to Deal With Sneaky Coworkers
1. Keep a Professional Demeanor
The first thing I want to cover is that it’s important you keep your cool and don’t get angry, annoyed, or involved in any of their drama or gossip.
Sneaky people often want to rope other people in and see how they react – be the bigger person, act like it doesn’t bother you.
This will also make you appear more confident and in control – two qualities that sneaky coworkers often lack.
2. Don’t Play Their Game
If you start to get involved in their sneaky behavior or games, you’re only going to end up getting hurt.
So, don’t play along – ignore what they’re doing and carry on as normal.
Keep an eye on the end goal. You want them to either get bored and move onto someone else or resolve the issue through the correct channels.
3. Don’t React Emotionally
Sneaky coworkers often try to get a rise out of you or push your buttons so that they can see how you’ll react.
They might say something hurtful or make a snide comment – whatever it is, don’t let them see that they’ve got to you.
It’s often easier said than done, but if you let your emotions come into play your work is going to suffer.
4. Keep a Record of What They’re Doing
If you’re being targeted by a sneaky coworker, it’s important to keep a record of their behavior.
This will help you to see patterns in their behavior and also give you something to fall back on if you need to speak to your boss or HR about the situation.
Keep an email chain or write down what happened, when it happened, and any witnesses to the event.
If you have concrete evidence, it’ll be much harder for them to deny their actions!
5. Remember, They’re In The Wrong – Not You
A sneaky person’s behavior is a reflection of their own insecurities and issues – not yours.
Remember that it’s not you, it’s them.
They might be feeling threatened or jealous for whatever reason – but that’s their problem, not yours!
Don’t let their behavior make you doubt yourself!
6. Report Their Behavior to The Correct Person
If you’re being targeted by a sneaky coworker, it’s important to report their behavior to the correct person – whether that’s your boss, HR, or someone else in a position of authority.
This is often the best way to deal with the situation as it’ll be dealt with officially and hopefully put a stop to their behavior.
Never be afraid to report them, there is nothing wrong with doing so. If sneaky workers are never reported, it just encourages them to repeat their behavior.
7. Confront Them (Sometimes This Is the Right Thing)
In some cases, the best way to deal with a sneaky coworker is to confront them about their behavior.
This might not always be possible or the right thing to do – but if you feel confident enough, it can be an effective way of putting an end to their behavior.
When you confront them, make sure that you’re calm and simply explain how their actions are affecting you and take it from there.
8. Don’t Take It Personally
I know this is easier said than done, but try not to take a sneaky person’s behavior personally.
Remember that it’s not about you – it’s about them and their own insecurities.
If you can step back and see the situation for what it is, it’ll be much easier to deal with!
9. Switch Off when You’re at Home
When you’re at work, it’s important to focus on the task at hand and not let a sneaky person’s behavior affect you.
When you’re at home, it’s even more important that you’re able to switch off from work and forget about them!
Spend time with your friends and family, do something that makes you happy, and try not to let it get you down.
10. Protect Yourself Where Possible
If you’re being targeted by a sneaky coworker, it’s important to protect yourself where possible.
This might mean setting boundaries or limits on your interactions with them, or it might mean speaking to your boss or HR about the situation.
Whatever you do, make sure that you’re putting yourself first. Just be mindful of what they’re usually looking for, and don’t give them any more ammo where possible.
11. Look at The Broader Picture – Sneaky Coworkers Aren’t Significant!
Sneaky coworkers might seem like a big deal at the time, but it’s important to remember that they’re not significant in the grand scheme of things.
They might be causing you stress or making your life difficult – but ultimately, they’re not worth your time and energy.
Remember that there are more important things in life and toxic people like this will come and go.
Don’t be a victim, don’t let them get you down, focus on your work and being the best you can be!
Image credits – Photo by TheStandingDesk on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.