When Someone Tries to Make You Look Bad at Work (My Advice)

Want to know what to do when someone tries to make you look bad at work?

Whether it’s a coworker who has taken a disliking to you or your boss pulling power plays, you have the right to defend yourself.

It’s how you defend yourself when someone is trying to make you look bad so you come out looking even better than before that counts!

What To Do When Someone Tries to Make You Look Bad at Work

Whether it’s a one-off incident or someone is repeatedly trying to make you look bad, you should always do something about it.

If you ignore these incidents, it will just encourage the bully, because that’s what they are, to carry on trying to pick on you.

That doesn’t mean you should get angry or try and seek revenge though.

Within the workplace, the best thing you can do is rise above it and be the better person while being professional about it.

Here are some of the things you should do to make someone who tries to make you look bad feel bad about their actions, look bad themselves, or make them stop and think in the future.

Figure Out What Their Motivation Is

Before you decide what the best course of action is, you need to understand what their motivation is for trying to make you look bad.

Are they jealous of your success?

Do they want your job?

Are they just generally a difficult person?

Once you know their motivation, it will be easier to come up with a plan on how to deal with them.

RelatedHere are 11 signs that prove you’re being sabotaged at work.

Talk to Them Directly About It

If you feel comfortable doing so, the best thing to do is talk to them directly about it.

Let them know that their actions are not acceptable and that you will not tolerate it.

Be assertive but professional in your approach, as getting angry or defensive will only make the situation worse.

Use examples of times when they have tried to make you look bad to back up your points and see if they explain themselves.

This is usually enough to stop someone from behaving like this in my experience.

Bullys hate being confronted and realizing that the person they are targeting knows exactly what they’re doing, and isn’t afraid of them.

Don’t Get Angry or Hold a Grudge

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the emotion of the situation and want to take revenge on someone who has wronged you.

However, this is not going to help the situation and will only make things worse.

You need to be the bigger person here and rise above it.

The best way to do that is by continuing to be professional and doing your job to the best of your ability.

This will eventually make the person who is trying to make you look bad, look bad themselves.

Makes Notes of Their Toxic Behaviors

If someone is repeatedly trying to make you look bad, it’s important to keep track of their behavior.

Write down dates and times when they have tried to make you look bad and what they did.

This will come in handy if you ever need to speak to HR about the situation or take legal action.

It will also help you keep track of how often it’s happening and how it’s affecting your work life.

Raise the Issue With Their Boss or HR

If talking to the person directly or making notes of their behavior doesn’t work, you may need to take things up with their boss or HR.

This is usually a last resort as it can make things awkward at work, but if someone is making your life a misery, you have a right to speak up.

Prepare yourself before you go in for the meeting by writing down everything that has happened and how it’s made you feel.

This will help you to stay calm and collected when you’re speaking to them.

At the end of the day, you have no reason to feel bad or like you’re doing something wrong.

They’re going to come out of this looking bad. If you work somewhere where issues like this are not taken seriously, it’s probably not a place you want to work in the long term.

Related Tips on how to quit an understaffed job and why you might have mixed feelings.

Related Questions

How Do You Tell if a Coworker Is Trying to Sabotage You?

There are a few key signs to look out for that a coworker is trying to sabotage you, these are:

  • They deliberately withhold information from you that you need to do your job.
  • They make snide or passive-aggressive comments to you.
  • They try to make you look bad in front of your boss or other coworkers.
  • They deliberately sabotage your work or projects.
  • They try to make you feel isolated or excluded from the team.

Basically, if a coworker is doing anything that makes your job or life more difficult, you need to question what their reasons are and if they’re deliberately trying to sabotage you.

How Do You Tell If a Coworker Is Threatened by You?

There are a few key signs to look for that a coworker is threatened by you, these are:

  • They avoid you or act cold and distant towards you.
  • They try to undermine your authority or position at work.
  • They deliberately sabotage your work or projects.
  • They make snide or passive-aggressive comments to you.
  • They try to make you look bad in front of your boss or other coworkers.

This is another toxic behavior that’s only going to get worse and make your life more miserable if you don’t do something about it.

How Do You Deal With People Talking Bad About You at Work?

The best way to deal with people talking bad about you at work is to ignore it.

If you can’t ignore it, the next best thing to do is talk to the person directly and ask them why they’re saying these things about you.

You should also make sure that you’re not doing anything to give them ammunition to use against you.

If the situation is really bad and you can’t seem to resolve it, you may need to speak to your boss or HR.


Image credits – Photo by Mapbox on Unsplash

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