Four out of five of us will experience a coworker who tries to bully or backstab. In all walks of life, there are people who pull time away in political maneuvering, grabbing resources, and creating distractions. These people can get your eyes watering:
• They secretly present your ideas as theirs.
• They take credit for your work to help them get ahead.
• They attempt character assassination.
• They provide you misleading information to their own benefit.
• They step over people, you included.
• They fabricate to try to save themselves.
• They endeavor to bring you down with disrespect.
• They create conflicts of interest.
• They try to trick you into badmouthing the company.
• They share private peer conversations.
• They go over your head and behind your back.
• They work to get your job away from you.
• They disassociate from you after you help them.
• They undermine you with micro-inequities, such as not returning phone calls and leaving you out of meetings, and generally make you feel, as one CEO put it, like "a sharpened instrument is being eased into the fleshy portion of your body."
Do I have an answer to dealing with these people? That's not so simple. First, make SURE by asking questions and not relying on hearsay as to whether the bullying is really happening. Secondly, address it early, privately, and make clear how you want it stopped and any damage corrected. (You may not get it, but unless you ask you definitely won't.) Watch for more of the egregious behavior and elevate your response to an appropriate manager, including the bully in the conversation.
And most importantly: after reading this list make sure YOU don't do any of these to others!