As you change jobs and even careers, you will come to a realisation that people really come in many different colors. Many work as hard as you do and are even kind-hearted. Of course, you enjoy being and working with them. Unfortunately, there are also those who have negative personalities. The worst kind of people you will come across are the backstabbers.

Backstabbing coworkers are those will intentionally do things to degrade and embarrass you at work. What’s worse is that their actions can potentially damage your career. But clearly, you cannot and should not trust this kind of person because all they care about is how they could advance their own career, even at the expense of others.

Traits of a Backstabbing Coworker

In general, backstabbing coworkers are overly ambitious and are very insecure about themselves. This is a dangerous combination of traits. You may think that they are simply insecure, but it is this characteristic of theirs that can put you and your career at risk. They want to achieve all their goals, but they believe that the only way they could do so is to take down their competition in any way they could.

When you start to feel like someone at work is a backstabber, never expect him or her to do what they promise they will do. It is also not a good idea to trust them with your opinions, ideas, inside information and even the progress of the tasks you’re taking on.

Protecting Yourself from Backstabbers

Below are some strategies you can use to keep yourself protected from their maliciousness.

1. Learn to not give exact answers or information.

Whatever topic you are discussing with a backstabber, see to it that you don't give precise information about you, be it personal or professional matters. Keep your answers superficial and vague.

2. Always be astute.

If you ask them to do something, make sure you follow up to check if they’re doing it the way you want them to. Don't rely too much on them because no matter ho smart and skilful they actually are, they can still find a way to mess up just to ruin your reputation.

3. Be defensive.

Backstabbers are often unpredictable. You can never be sure when they’re going to attack you, so you need to stay alert all the time.

4. Communicate well and practice proper documentation.

Backstabbers will always look for your mistakes, but this will be hard for them to do if you are transparent and open in your communication with your bosses and other coworkers. Keep a record of all your transactions so you will have proof in case you end up being questioned.

5. Don’t be scared of confrontations.

Backstabbers do what they do because many people choose not to confront them. But if you let them know that you’re not someone who will back down, there is a great chance that they will stop trying to sabotage you.

If you’re lucky enough, you may not have to work with a backstabbing coworker, but still, you have to realize that in a competitive environment, people easily change so they can get what they want. In this case, be strong and be extra careful. If you need professional advice so you that you may have more confidence in dealing with such people, a life coaching expert is the person you should look for.

Author's Bio: 

Cecile Peterkin is a certified career and retirement coach, and a registered member of the Career Professionals of Canada and the International Coach Federation. She is also the Founder and Senior Career Strategist at Cosmic Coaching Centre, provider of career and life management services for middle managers and mid-career professionals across Canada, United States and Europe.