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Sabotage in the Workplace

Updated on February 5, 2012

It is very common in this competitive, cut-throat world that we live in to experience sabotage of some form in the workplace. As I explained in another article, workplace sabotage is a form of bullying in the workplace that can reduce productivity and harm the company.

Sabotage Can Bring You Down


How to Recognize the Saboteur?

Workplace sabotage can occur from co-workers, managers and even outside competitors who badmouth you to potential clients or harm your business in some way.

Saboteurs may engage in the following behaviors:

  • Spread rumors about you or your business
  • Take credit for your work product
  • Fail to do their part on a joint project
  • Give you impossible assignments
  • Make you do more work than others

The bottom-line is that workplace sabotage involves any attempts to negatively interfere with your work production and performance.

What Motivates Saboteurs?

While you can never really know what motivates someone else, saboteurs usually have the following characteristics:

  • Jealousy
  • Feelings of inadequacy
  • Low self-esteem

Behaviors of sabotage are more about the feelings of the saboteur about his/herself than any hatred towards the victim of the sabotage. People who sabotage others are basically unhappy with themselves. Happy, successful people rarely feel the need to concern themselves so much with what others are doing to the point of sabotage because they are content within their own skins and happy with their lives.

What Can Be Done?

  • Very little can be done about workplace sabotage if the boss or manager is the one who is the saboteur. In this case, the business will eventually fail because any shining stars would be chased away by such an environment.
  • Keep a record of all sabotaging behaviors (even if your boss doesn’t believe you at first). As with any type of harassment, you must keep a record. Over time, the boss might begin to see what you are talking about so keep a record to protect yourself.
  • In unbearable work environments in which there seems to be no end to the sabotage, you might need to look for another job. If you need the money (which I assume you do), try to keep your job until you find something else.
  • If outside competitors are dragging you down, please keep the faith in yourself. Ignore the drama and focus on building up your business. Paying too much attention to outside forces may distract your from what is really important to your success.

Most important. Never sink down to the level of a saboteur. People who sabotage others to try to get ahead will ultimately fail. Playing a game of sabotage never works out in the long run. The victories and successes of a saboteur are temporary. Focus on your own work, keep your chin up and never let saboteurs get you down or make you feel down about yourself. Yes, workplace sabotage sucks and is very hard to deal with, but you must keep true to yourself and rise above such petty behaviors and continue to move forward with your life. Develop proactive plans to make sure your work performance shines and forget about people who don’t have your best interest at heart. I have been through workplace sabotage and believe me it does eventually end, and the truth reveals itself eventually.


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      temptor94 3 years ago

      Your post strikes a chord. All of us would have faced such people at different points in life, the tips you have offered are valuable to everyone. Thanks for sharing this great article :)

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Thanks soconfident for reading and the encouragement.

      Sparklea ~ yes, other people can make any job feel like a drag. Positive environments make you like the job.

    • profile image

      Sparklea 6 years ago

      Great advice, and thank you. I always said, if someone does not like their job, it's not usually the job, it's the people, or, one person. There is a law of cause and effect. What goes around, comes around. People cannot be nasty and not have it eventually come back to them. I have learned so much over the years about the workplace. I have found nothing works when you are with difficult people, except to leave the job, like you said, but first find another job. Great writing as always, Sincerely, Sparklea :)

    • soconfident profile image

      Derrick Bennett 6 years ago

      Great tips