By Linnda Durre, Ph.D., Author of Surviving the Toxic Workplace – Protect Yourself Against Co-workers Bosses and Work Environments That Poison Your Day to be published by McGraw Hill, February 19, 2010
As a business and corporate consultant, I’ve analyzed and worked with many difficult bosses over the years. In order to cope and deal with them, you need to know why they act the way they do and how best to deal with them, in order to earn their respect, get things accomplished, and preserve your sanity. You also need to stand up for yourself, confront them, and attempt to get them to stop their negative behavior. In my twice-monthly column, I will help you cope with a different type of boss. Last column was about “Dick the Dictator.” This second one is about “Bashia the Back Stabber.”
SITUATION: Bashia the Back Stabber is a first class saboteur. She is a vicious, selfish, vindictive, and nasty person who befriends you, gets information from you, and then betrays you through lies, deceit, and false loyalty. She’s after your job, company secrets, your husband or boyfriend – her list is endless. She knows exactly how to set you up, get what she needs, and then leave you bleeding as she moves on with her promotion, secret file, corner office, or new job title. She can be sneaky, silent, and covert as she plots your demise. Or she can be very transparent as you see it coming, but can’t seem to stop it because you don’t have “proof” and/or because no one is listening to your warnings. No matter how she does it, it’s painful, embarrassing, and humiliating. Backstabbers in your professional life can be evil incarnate and sometimes we don’t even see it coming.
EXPLANATION: Bashia the Back Stabber is usually a sociopathic or psychopathic personality. She has little or no guilt, no conscience, and no morals. She will do anything to get ahead including throw her mother under a bus or you under a train. She doesn’t trust anyone and she’s out for #1. She will lie, cheat, steal, and betray to get ahead, to make more money, to get a promotion or a corner office, whatever her goal is. She may be after your job, leads, address book, your husband or boyfriend. You can’t trust her at all. No matter how charming, sweet, or self-effacing she may appear, she is a nasty piece of work.
When she sets you up, you feel duped, stupid, and betrayed. Sometimes you have proof and sometimes you don’t because she’s brilliant at covering her tracks. Even when you have proof, she may be conspiring with your boss, the company’s owner, or board of directors, and they will ignore the proof. Or you may find that your “proof” has been deleted from your computer, your desk may have been broken into and the proof stolen, or it’s just “disappeared.” So always make copies and keep one in your safety deposit box at the bank. Bashia may be sleeping with someone higher up who covers for her. She’s lethal, dangerous, and isn’t above hiring a hit man to knock someone off, including you if you get in her way. This is one person to be warned about. You may only want to deal with her in the presence of the head of HR and/or your boss, but keep in mind that she may be in collusion with them, too, or even setting them up for a fall. You can’t trust her at all.
SOLUTION: You need to take action and protect yourself. You may want to call an attorney but not associated with your business first. Line up your facts, evidence, witnesses, and proof before you confront her. You may want to go to your boss to HR before you say anything to her, but be aware that HR and/or your boss may be conspiring with her. You might want to have a witness there with you when you confront her, like your own attorney, as well as HR and/or your boss. Tell her that you know what she’s up to and that you’re not going to stand for it. That way she knows you’re hip to her tricks.
“Bashia, I’m glad we’re meeting in HR with our boss and my attorney present. I appreciate your ambition and drive. However, I find that it’s going toward the dark side. I’m fully aware that you were the one who took my report that had the findings from our research because they didn’t support your project. You didn’t want the higher ups to know it. I’ve made other copies and sent it to them. I find you sneaky, deceptive, and untrustworthy. Your ruthlessness has serious consequences and you can’t get away with stealing or falsifying reports just because you don’t agree with them. If I have to, I will alert the media to what you’re doing in this company. Your lack of ethics is despicable and I’m not going to stand for it.”
Follow up on your actions to protect yourself, your documents, research, office, and integrity. That’s how to deal with sociopaths like Bashia.