There are many different kinds of coworkers from hell. Some will use you, some will abuse you and some just annoy you. The annoying ones – those coworkers with quirks and habits that don’t directly affect you but still drive you crazy – we’ll leave for another time. In this issue, we’ll talk about three things you can do to protect yourself from coworkers whose negative behavior can impact your work and your career.
It’s important to make it a habit to use some fundamental Butt Covering Techniques (BCTs). They are described in more detail in my book, Winning with the Boss from Hell, but the most important one is to always ensure you have a “paper trail.” This trail, which can be either physical or electronic (email), allows you to go back to actions taken and decisions made. Clarify things in writing and confirm things in writing. This ensures that you won’t be left hanging in the wind should someone else’s poor decisions backfire.
Build Your Network
The better the rapport you have with the people in your office, and the better a networker you are, the larger the safety net you have. With this network in place, if a coworker does something that could potentially hurt you, you are more likely to land on your feet. One important note: Never use your network to hurt a coworker – that would make you the Coworker from Hell!
Be A Rock
Don’t play favorites. Don’t compromise your values. Be dependable and consistent. When people can trust you and rely on you, they are less likely to try and play games with you.