15 Red Flags Your Coworker is a Snake
Many of us spend more time with coworkers than our family, so when the office Karen is being a backstabbing snake it can take a serious toll on your mental wellbeing. We looked to the experts to help with some insights and solutions to workplace drama. From know-it-alls like Angela to straight up tattle-tales like Dwight, here are 15 signs to look out for and professional advice on what to do when dealing with a sketchy colleague in the office.
The CC’erWe all know someone who just has to CC every single person in the company on mundane emails that don’t need to be widely shared. It’s even worse when they CC everyone on an email that calls you out! This passive-aggressive tactic can be harmful to team morale and cause friction in your working relationship, but what can you do?
“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. Then, follow up with an email (reply all in this case!) letting everyone else know you’ve taken care of it,” suggests HR professional Kelsey Miller.
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The Passive Aggressive Work FriendLike the CC’er, the Passive Aggressive Work Friend finds ways to subtlety undermine you and your work. Whether it’s through back-handed compliments, withholding information or giving you the silent treatment.
As suggested with the CC’er, talk to them directly about the issues and let them know that you’d prefer to discuss things directly.
The Quick Favour AskerUnlike the Forgetful Foe (coming up next!), the Quick Favour Asker is straight up asking you to do their work. “But you’re so good at it,” “you’re quicker at it than I am,” and “I am just so swamped” are some of the common excuses used by a lazy coworker to guilt you into doing their job.
“Show appreciation for their compliment but politely explain that you have your own work to complete,” says HR specialist Erica Killeen. “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.”
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The Forgetful FoeWe’re talking about the colleague who cannot retain information from one day to another. This can be genuine (in which case they should write things down) or a passive-aggressive way of getting you to do their work for them. If it’s the latter, don’t let them get away with it.
As suggested when dealing with the Quick Favour Asker, politely explain that you have your own work to complete.
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The Jealous TypeNot everyone in the office is a team player, and the jealous type will be resentful and difficult to work with. You can’t stop being good at your job, so what do you do? HR specialist Erica Killeen has some tips.
“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.”
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The LiarThe Liar could be spreading rumours behind your back, taking credit for your work, or covering up their mistakes. Either way, you can’t trust them, but how do you continue to have a working relationship amongst the dishonesty?
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.
SEE ALSO: 10 reasons why you can't stop gossiping at work.
The GossiperWe all gossip, and work gossip is always the juiciest! But there is a difference between trusted conversation amongst close colleagues and the type of toxic rumour-mill that a chronic gossiper loves to create. What can you do if you’re the topic of discussion?
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 PetThere’s always one person who completely changes their demeanour when the boss is around. They love to suck up instead of just working hard to earn their boss’ respect. You can’t trust the Teacher’s Pet, because they’re only in it for themselves.
“Getting overly involved in the actions of other colleagues is only going to negatively affect your work performance and mood. Trust that your dedication and hard work speaks for itself to your boss and that they are capable of determining what actions earn respect,” says HR specialist Erica Killeen.
The Disrespectful TeammateThe Disrespectful Teammate is the one who calls you out in meetings, steals your ideas, takes credit for your work, and disses you to other colleagues behind your back. Hopefully your other colleagues can see through the Disrespectful Teammates shiny façade, but if they can’t, here’s what you can do according to HR professional Kelsey Miller.
“Ignore the office gossip and focus on you. 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.”
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The MicromanagerWhile the Micromanager might have good intentions, their obsessive need to control everything can stab you in the back. Micromanagers slow down productivity, inhibit the creative process, and demoralize the whole team. How do you manage-up when your direct-report is a micromanager?
“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. 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,” says HR specialist Erica Killeen.
The Sly BackstabberEvery so often we work with someone so slick, it takes a while before we realize they’ve been stabbing us in the back. Usually well-liked and emotionally intelligent, the Sly Backstabber appears professional on the outside, but is severely unqualified to be working in a team environment. Once you’ve spotted the Sly Backstabber, take note, and be extra cautious.
“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 HotheadDo you have a colleague who loses their temper over the smallest things? The office hothead often overreacts when stressed or challenged. When they’re in a rage, they will throw anyone who gets in their way under the bus.
“Take a deep breath yourself before diving in with this one. Hotheads can drag you in with their aggressively negative energy very easily. 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,” says HR professional, Kelsey Miller.
The NarcissistThe Narcissist — your workplace wouldn’t survive without them and they’re quick to let you know all about it. They will take credit for every success, and deflect the blame for every mistake. You can’t reason with a narcissist, or force them into therapy, so try to implement these tips from HR specialist Erica Killeen.
“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. 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.”
The MartyrThe opposite of the Quick Favour Asker, the Martyr will take on everything in order to prove that they work the hardest and sacrifice the most. While they’re trying to accomplish a lot, they actually have a negative effect on productivity as they don’t work well with others and undermine their colleagues’ confidence.
“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. A good heart to heart with this colleague would go a long way,” suggests HR professional, Kelsey Miller.
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