No matter your industry or seniority, it’s likely that you’ve come up against a workplace nemesis — someone who seems to have made it their sole mission in life to derail your career. And if you’re facing that person right now, never fear. We’ve got some great advice to make sure that you not only survive this career attack, but come out on top. Here are 5 tips for conquering your workplace nemesis.
- Don’t take it personally.
We know — how could you NOT take it personally, right? After all, your nemesis is trying to sabotage you and your career. But the truth is, this attack really isn’t about you at all. It’s about the attacker. They see you as a threat, or they believe that by throwing you under the bus they’ll somehow get ahead. Essentially, they see you as little more than collateral damage on their road to greatness. So calm down, take the emotion out of it, and figure out the best way to get them under control.
- Don’t stoop to their level.
Getting down in the mud with your nemesis is likely to end badly for you because chances are pretty good that you’re not the first person they’ve pulled these tricks on. People who seek to sabotage others in the workplace have perfected their craft, and they know how to come out on top in any direct confrontation. So, steer clear of any face-to-face verbal sparring — the last thing you need is a reputation as a troublemaker.
- Be mindful of your actions.
Your nemesis is just waiting for you to screw up, so don’t give them any ammo. Watch what you say, what opinions you share and how well you do your work. Learn to keep some information to yourself. The less they have to work with, the better you’ll be able to stay one step ahead.
- Be mature.
You’re the adult. They’re the ones auditioning for a “Mean Girls” reboot. So that means no gossiping to your work friends about what’s going on between you and your nemesis. Instead, meticulously document all details of every bullying incident, and thoughtfully raise your concerns to management. Your goal here is not to tattle — you’re a prepared professional detailing the negative impact of this behavior to the company and to your work.
- Directly confront only if absolutely necessary.
There are times when you should have a direct conversation with your nemesis about their behavior. If they’re gossiping about your hair, your shoes or your personal life, leave it alone. But if the chatter is more around you as a professional or how you got to where you are, it’s worth pulling them aside. But make sure you chat with HR and your boss to make sure that’s the route they’d prefer you take, and don’t have any conversations while you’re angry.