Many of us spend more time with coworkers than our families, so when the office Karen is being a backstabbing snake it can take a serious toll on our mental well-being. To help with the situation, we looked to the experts to help with insights and solutions to workplace drama. From know-it-alls like Angela to straight up tattle-tales like Dwight, here are the most common signs to look out for, and professional advice on what to do when dealing with a sketchy colleague in the office — or even from home.
“Pick up the phone right away. Talk to them directly about the issues and let them know that you’d prefer they call you to discuss things directly," suggests HR professional Kelsey Miller. "Then, follow up with an email (Reply All in this case!) letting everyone else know you’ve taken care of it."
The Passive Aggressive Work Friend
As suggested with the CC’er, talk to them directly about the issues and let them know that you’d prefer to discuss privately in person.
The Quick Favour Asker
“Show appreciation for their compliment but politely explain that you have your own work to complete,” HR specialist Erica Killeen says. “If you do have some extra time, let them know that you would be willing to help them so that in the future they are able to accomplish their tasks on their own.”
The Forgetful Foe
As suggested when dealing with the Quick Favour Asker, politely explain that you have your own work to complete.
The Jealous Type
“Try to focus on the things that you can control. Being good at your job is something to be proud of, and jealous and resentful coworkers should not affect that. If it begins to affect your work by them not being a team player, try approaching them first to address the issue. If they remain difficult after that speak with a manager with your concerns.”
As suggested when dealing with the Jealous Type, if it begins to affect your work approach them first to address the issue. If they remain difficult after that speak with a manager about your concerns.
As suggested when dealing with the Liar and the Jealous type, if you feel comfortable, approach them first to address the issue. If they remain difficult after that, take it to management or HR.
The Teacher’s Pet
“Getting overly involved in the actions of other colleagues is only going to negatively affect your work performance and mood," HR specialist Erica Killeen says. "Trust that your dedication and hard work speaks for itself to your boss and that they are capable of determining what actions earn respect."
The Disrespectful Teammate
“Ignore the office gossip and focus on you," she says. "Make sure you keep diligent notes on your own work and check in with your manager often, so they know how hard you are working. Don’t be afraid to stand up to this teammate in meetings and defend yourself (easier said than done, I know!). Some people need to be put in their place to learn a lesson.”
“People micromanage because letting go of control is frightening to them. First, take a look at your work and ensure there is nothing you are doing that needs to be micromanaged i.e. showing up late, missing deadlines," HR specialist Erica Killeen explains. "Secondly, anticipate what they are looking for. Showing your manager you are ahead of the game will build confidence and trust. Thirdly, provide updates. If you keep them involved they will start to feel more comfortable giving up some of their control to you."
The Sly Backstabber
“Documentation is key when dealing with backstabbers. Keep notes of situations where they’ve worked their way through a project off the backs of others! If you’re not comfortable talking to them directly once you have your examples, take it to their manager,” HR professional Kelsey Miller advises.
The Not-So-Sly Backstabber
The Hot Head
“Take a deep breath yourself before diving in with this one. Hotheads can drag you in with their aggressively negative energy very easily," HR professional, Kelsey Miller says. "Treat them like you would a toddler having a tantrum — don’t react in the moment and wait until things calm down before discussing the issues directly with them."
“I am a big believer that people’s true colours eventually come through. If you have come to the realization that you are working with a narcissist most likely your other colleagues and bosses will as well," she says. "Do your best to ignore their actions, resist challenging them, realize their insecurities, accept the likelihood of them not changing their behaviour and set clear boundaries within that relationship.”
“This screams confidence issues! I would acknowledge where they are doing well but underline the importance of working with the team towards a common goal," HR professional, Kelsey Miller suggests. "A good heart-to-heart with this colleague would go a long way."