PR Fish Bowl


Tuesday Tips: P.R. Tips For Thwarting A Business Backstabber

It’s nearly the “Ides of March,” which simply means the middle of the month. But, the term “Beware the Ides of March,” refers to Julius Caesar, who was told by a seer that he would be harmed on that date. He was then stabbed to death by a group of Roman senatorial colleagues.

Backstabbing still exists, both in politics and even in the workplace. Tough times or unusual personalities may lead a colleague, boss, or staffer to try to undermine others. Here are five ways to spot or thwart a would-be workplace saboteur.

Stay professional. No matter what happens, don’t be confrontational or let your emotions get the better of you. And don’t give in to the temptation to gossip; if you need a reality check, confide in a trusted friend or mentor instead.

Put it in writing. Getting assignments late, or without proper direction? Unfairly blamed for a snafu? Put your questions or clarifications in a clear and courteous email or memo. For murky assignments, recap the deliverable, deadline, and expectations. A paper or email trail can be valuable later.

Build allies. Your best advocate may be your own good reputation. Volunteer for task forces, morale committees, or whatever else will build relationships and help your case. Treat all with respect and professionalism, and it will come back to you.

Communicate. It could be that your rival doesn’t realize what he’s doing, and a one-on-one conversation can clear the air. Don’t be accusatory or angry; just focus on specific actions and why a different one would benefit both of you. “I was suprised that you didn’t mention my contribution to the proposal,” is a neutral way to state your feelings.

Be your own best PR person. Keep records of the ways you save the company money, enhance productivity, or win clients. Take advantage of staff meetings and informal chats with superiors to update colleagues on your successes. Don’t be obnoxious, but don’t be shy either.

Got any “Ides of March” advice about office backstabbers?

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