Magazine article Working Mother

Time to Watch Your Back!

Magazine article Working Mother

Time to Watch Your Back!

Article excerpt

Q I found out that a colleague whom I trusted has been criticizing my work behind my back. What should I do?

A: First, make sure that what you've heard through the grapevine is accurate. If you want to salvage a collegial relationship-or at least be able to continue working together-it's important to deal with the situation directly. If you go to your boss or complain to others in the office, that will only give the impression that you can't handle conflict. Instead, seek out your colleague and say: "I heard you've been criticizing my work to others. Before I jump to any conclusions, I thought I'd get your side of the story." Expect your colleague to be surprised by your direct approach and perhaps a little embarrassed or defensive.

Regardless of the response, though, don't argue or get dragged into details. That will only heighten tensions. To move the conversation toward problemsolving, say, "In the future, it would be helpful if you came to me first if you have concerns about my work." You can't control someone else's behavior, but at least you've put your coworker on notice about how you feel and what you expect.

To make yourself less vulnerable to future sabotage, try tooting your own horn a little. One lone colleague won't damage your reputation if others know how much you do. …

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