Sabotage happens in the workplace more often than you think.
What’s scary about this is sometimes, those people who you’re close with are the people who are sabotaging you.
They intentionally try to bring you down, make you quit, or worse, get you fired.
Sabotage comes in many forms, which include gossiping, belittling, and downright bullying.
Although this behavior causes trouble in the workplace, the HR office usually doesn’t intervene, especially if the sabotage occurs on a peer level.
It’s essential that you’re aware of signs you are being sabotaged at work.
This way, you’ll be able to identify who’s actively hindering your success at work.
- What Are the Signs That You Are Being Sabotaged by Your Boss?
- What Are the Signs That You Are Being Sabotaged by Your Coworkers?
- Common Reasons Why You’re Being Sabotaged At Work
- What Steps Should You Take When You’re Being Sabotaged?
- What Should You Do If Your Boss Is the Saboteur?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping Up
What Are the Signs That You Are Being Sabotaged by Your Boss?
According to research, people with higher positions such as the manager and supervisor are most likely to sabotage their team members if they see them as a threat to their position.
Here are the signs that your boss is sabotaging you:
1. Your Boss Treats You Differently
When your boss treats you differently than others, it makes the work environment feel unwelcoming.
- Your boss never asks you for input.
- Your boss doesn’t smile when you’re around.
- Your boss doesn’t involve you in decision-making.
- Your boss is micromanaging you, and only you.
2. Your Boss Excludes You From Meetings
Since your boss has total control over meetings, he gets to decide whether to include you or not.
When your boss excludes you, he or she is trying to prevent you from acquiring the information that you need to execute your work successfully.
3. Unequal Distribution of Tasks
It’s the role of your boss to make sure that everyone has an equal amount of work.
If they’re giving you more tasks than others, then you might be getting sabotaged.
They want you to work harder until you feel exhausted.
4. Your Boss Takes Credit for Your Work
It’s unquestionably frustrating when this happens to you. Maybe you’ve been working almost every day on this project.
During the presentation, everyone likes the outcome, but your boss claims that it was all his doing.
What Are the Signs That You Are Being Sabotaged by Your Coworkers?
Your boss may be more likely to sabotage you, but this doesn’t mean that your coworkers don’t pose a threat.
Here are some signs that you’re getting sabotaged by your colleagues.
1. They Leave You with Tasks That No One Wants
One of the toughest situations at work is when your coworkers get to choose their tasks and leave you with the most difficult ones.
These people get satisfaction from seeing you struggling with your work until you have no choice but to quit.
2. They Don’t Invite You to Social Gatherings
What is more awkward than not being part of casual conversations in the workplace?
Not getting invited to any outside-of-work plans such as drinking and eating out is also a sign of sabotage.
Your coworkers purposely want to make you feel unwelcome in their team.
3. Your Coworkers Are Constantly Observing You
It’s normal to feel that there’s someone watching you in your workplace.
Most of the time, your boss monitors you to know that they’re getting their money’s worth out of you.
However, it’s a different thing when your coworkers constantly watch you. They’re probably making you feel uncomfortable so you’ll make mistakes at work.
4. They Humiliate You in Front of Your Team
Humiliation usually happens in a group setting.
If you experience humiliation in your team and not one coworker comes to your defense, you’re facing workplace sabotage.
When they’re constantly embarrassing you in front of other people, it can lead to a decrease in morale.
Common Reasons Why You’re Being Sabotaged At Work
If you are being sabotaged at work, it’s important not to act all at once. You should first know where these saboteurs are coming from.
This way, you’ll be able to know how to confront them properly.
Here are the common reasons why people sabotage at work:
- They’re insecure about their performance.
- They think you’re a threat to their position.
- They feel like they don’t have the same opportunities.
- They think they could do better than you.
- They’re unhappy with their workplace.
- They haven’t received any promotions.
What Steps Should You Take When You’re Being Sabotaged?
If you’re positive that your coworkers are sabotaging you, you shouldn’t allow them to continue harming you.
Here are the steps you should do to protect yourself from this kind of behavior.
Step 1: Keep Calm and Be Professional
If you notice that you’re being sabotaged at work, try to be calm.
Be the bigger person and know why they’re acting that way.
There’s no need to lower yourself for them, considering that you know your self-worth more than anyone else.
Be professional and continue with your work.
Step 2: Start Damage Control
A good idea is to talk directly with your boss or the HR manager and explain what’s happening in your workplace. Let them know if someone is spreading rumors about you.
However, you need to make sure that you have a good reputation with these people.
At least, there should be someone to question the saboteur about the rumor he/she is spreading about you.
Step 3: Document and Keep Evidence
Take note of all the meetings you’ve missed and keep track of all the hard tasks your colleagues are giving you.
Save important emails, messages, and information that can back up your complaint.
Step 4: Identify the People You Can Rely on
Build a group of people who you know will stand up for you. It doesn’t have to be someone from your team.
It can be your peer from outside of work or an old friend. The idea here is for you to have these people who will support you throughout this difficult situation.
Step 5: Confront the Saboteur
Once you’re ready to face the saboteur, have a talk with the person in a calm and professional way.
Let your coworker explain their side and try to understand.
Explain how their actions affected you and try to resolve the problem together.
Step 6: Escalate the Conflict
If you’ve already talked to the person and nothing happened, escalate the issue and ask for help from upper management.
Relay to them how this behavior affects your work productivity.
It’s also important to emphasize how it can have a negative impact on the company’s performance.
If your coworker tries to deny their actions, you already have evidence to prove that you haven’t done anything wrong.
Now, it’ll be time to use these documents to expose your coworker’s manipulations.
What Should You Do If Your Boss Is the Saboteur?
It’s more difficult when the one who’s sabotaging you is your boss because it’ll seem like there’s nothing you can do about your situation.
Well, the good news is you can still take action.
Step 1: Confront Your Boss
This step is a good start to helping yourself with the situation. When speaking with your boss, try to maintain an employer-employee approach.
Respectfully explain your side, what your observations are, and how your boss’ actions affect you personally and your performance at work.
Step 2: Consider Other Options
If you’ve already explained your side to your boss to no avail, maybe it’s time to take a step back and consider other options.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you still want this job?
- Are you okay with this kind of treatment?
- Is it still worth it?
- Do you think this company will still help you with your career growth?
If your answer is “No,” then it’s time to submit that resignation paper and look for a new job that’s healthy for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here’s a list of questions that people often ask about workplace sabotage.
How would you know if a colleague is undermining you?
You’ll notice that your colleague is undermining you when they act superior over everyone.
Your coworker will also bombard you with lots of suggestions and advice to make you feel that he/she is better than you.
How do you deal with coworkers who don’t respect boundaries?
If you have coworkers who like to cross their boundaries, it’s important to make them understand their limits.
Be polite, but also be clear when setting those boundaries.
What do manipulators usually say?
When things go bad, manipulators like to remove themselves from the picture.
They will try to put all the blame on you by saying things like, “It wasn’t my idea, it was yours,” or “You misunderstood me.”
Knowing the signs you are being sabotaged at work is important so that you can protect yourself from the wrong people.
Whether it’s your boss or coworkers, such behavior can affect not only your career growth but also your mental and emotional health.
Being excluded, receiving an unfair delegation of tasks, and experiencing humiliation are a few signs that there’s sabotage happening in your workplace.
You can confront your saboteur and hear what they have to say.
Otherwise, you can take the matter to HR if nothing changes.