25 Signs Someone Is Sabotaging You | What To Do If You Are Being Sabotaged At Work

25 Signs Someone Is Sabotaging You | What To Do If You Are Being Sabotaged At Work

25 Signs Someone Is Sabotaging You | What To Do If You Are Being Sabotaged At Work. Dealing with a coworker who wants to sabotage you is hard. There are several ways in which an employee can quietly undermine and damage your business from within, and each can happen over an extended period of time before anything untoward is noticed.

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Relationships with coworkers are a major contributor to how happy you are in your position, and employees often are more productive, creative and collaborative when they have a high level of job satisfaction.  Kamerpower.com

Signs Someone Is Sabotaging You | What To Do If You Are Being Sabotaged At Work

What is sabotage?

Sabotage in a professional context means someone is undermining your work or credibility. Three types of people sabotage their coworkers, bosses, or direct reports at work. 

What Is A Workplace Sabotage?

Workplace sabotage is a series of acts in the realm of bullying and abuse. It includes humiliation, ridicule, shouting, monitoring, and interfering with one’s work duties or success. Workers, managers, or other individuals intentionally try to cause a target to quit or get fired because they do not want such a person around. Sabotage at work occurs for a variety of reasons. In many cases, individuals feel threatened about their positions. Below, we’ll give you more details of signs you are being set up to fail at work.

What does being undermined at work mean?

Someone may be undermining you if they:

  • Take action to lessen the importance of your achievements or how you realized4 your accomplishments.
  • Decrease the authority you have in the workplace, over a team or within a project group.
  • Make a joke about you.
  • Purposefully share mistakes you’ve made with others.
  • Interrupt you and contradict what you’re saying in a way that makes others negatively question your words or ideas.
  • Negatively challenge your work or attack your work values in the office.

25 Signs Someone Is Trying To Set You Up At Work

What are the signs you are being set up to fail at work?

1. The tell lies about you to your boss.

What’s the best way to get someone written up? Tell their boss that they’re not doing a good job. While that would be a very neat setup and punchline for a rather on-the-nose joke, the truth is that it happens all the time. If you’ve got a jealous coworker on your hands, they might be talking to your boss about your poor performance even though you work very hard. Or rather still they may tell your manager that you consistently take extended lunch breaks but when normally you eat at your desk. 

2. They take credit for your bright ideas.

This is another sign someone is sabotaging you at work. Taking credit for someone else’s work is a classic example of coworker sabotage. Bad coworkers will try to meet with you just before an important conversation or group meeting in order to poach your ideas, bring them to the larger table, and then take credit for them. For these reasons, don’t allow your sabotaging coworker to get too close to your ideas before you present them. 

3. You are not invited to important meetings.

This is another sign you are being set up to fail at work. Being left out of important meetings can be a sign that you are being sabotaged. These meetings usually cover topics such as important processes, sales numbers, and new products. If you find yourself not invited to these meetings, it could be a sign that someone doesn’t want you to have access to this information. It is important to take note if you are consistently left out of these meetings and try to figure out why. It could be because someone does not think highly of your work or they do not want you to have the same knowledge as them.

4. Your work and mistakes are heavily criticized.

When it comes to career sabotage, one of the signs someone is sabotaging you at work is when you can’t make even the smallest mistake without catching heat for it. This can be incredibly exhausting and demoralizing, as it feels like no matter what you do, someone is always watching and waiting to criticize. Even if your mistake is minor or insignificant, it can still be blown out of proportion and used against you. Another sign of potential career sabotage is when people extremely react to you.

5. You are getting responsibilities taken away from you without asking.

When you notice that your responsibilities or tasks are being taken away from you, it can be a sign of sabotage. This could mean that someone is trying to undermine your work and make it look like you are incapable of handling the tasks at hand. It could also indicate that someone is trying to take credit for your work or discredit you in some way. It’s important to pay attention to any changes in your responsibilities and tasks, as this could be a sign of sabotage.

6. You’re Being Trained Improperly.

Improper training is one of the most prevalent signs you are being sabotaged at work. Look out for trainers and helpers who tell you to do things improperly and then report your mistake to the manager and the rest of your coworkers. The chances are high that this person does not want you to succeed.

7. They’re being manipulative.

They’re nice to your face and then they turn sour behind your back. A manipulative coworker will try to play both sides of the field, making it seem like they’re rooting for you, and then gutting you the moment you’re out of the room. At worst, they’ll use information you gave them while they were pretending to be nice in order to sabotage you down the road. 

8. You Get Put on the Frontline With Partial Knowledge.

In a sabotage situation, your bosses may put you on the frontline knowing that you’ve only received part of your training and don’t yet feel confident in the position. This might conveniently be a time when one of the higher-ups is visiting. Incidentally, he or she will be reviewing your work and taking notes that day.

9. Your boss lets you know there’s been “anonymous feedback” about your performance.

Someone giving an anonymous feedback is also a sign someone is sabotaging you at work. Any time you are told there’s been negative feedback about you, but the person doesn’t want to tell you themselves, there’s a good chance you are being sabotaged. Coworkers who care about you as a professional will find the tactful way to share their concerns.

10. They create drama about you, gossip and badmouth your performance.

Gossip happens in every workplace. If you’re the subject of someone else’s hushed conversations in the break room, you might have a jealous coworker in the wings. The best way to stop these kinds of conversations from happening is to alert the drama-seekers that you know they’re discussing you, and that you’d like it to stop. Otherwise, it can grow into a full-blown sabotage attempt from your colleague. 

11. They keep others from being productive as well.

Someone undermining you at work can engage in sabotaging comments and behavior toward others. This type of behavior is usually not targeted at one specific person, but rather at multiple people. A classic example of this would be when someone takes a day off from work and the underminer loudly questions their absence to the boss.

12. You are not given proper training or work instructions.

When you’re not given the tools to succeed at work, it can be a sign that you’re being sabotaged. This could mean that you’re missing out on important learning courses or materials that would help you do your job better. Without these resources, it can be difficult to perform well and make mistakes that could be used against you. Your supervisor might talk about your performance in a negative light without allowing you to learn and grow in your role.

13. They force you to do additional work.

Forcing you to do additional work is also one of the signs someone is sabotaging you at work. Do you get the feeling that your colleague is making you do more work than you need to in order to get the job done? It might be hard to spot at first, but consider watching how they give others tasks versus how you’re asked to complete a task. If you find yourself constantly bogged down with additional red tape that others don’t seem to have to deal with, your coworker may be sabotaging you.

14. They only trust you at certain times in the workplace.

It can be incredibly frustrating to have to bargain with a coworker just to get things done. This is especially true when it feels like you are being given conditional trust or approval. A saboteur may offer approval for one task or project, but then oppose everything else that comes up. This type of behavior can be damaging to relationships and productivity in the workplace. It creates an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion, which can lead to resentment and animosity between coworkers.

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15. You find yourself being called out in a meeting and are blindsided by the unexpected criticism.

Coworkers that care enough would pull you aside and try to help you in private. Whereas, those that point out your mistakes in front of others without telling you first are looking to undermine your credibility on the team.

16. You Always Get Tasks No One Else Wants.

Getting a disproportionally bigger or undesired workload could be a sign of coworker sabotage. Don’t play into this by accepting the most unpleasant tasks without any discussion. 

17. Time theft.

Time theft is one of the signs someone is sabotaging you at work. Any kind of theft by an employee could be construed as an act of sabotage in that it directly impacts the bottom line of the business, but time theft is a particular issue, because its impact can be so wide-ranging, and depends entirely on the motivation of the employee in question as well as the nature of the time theft. The most obvious and, perhaps, common, is the employee who is persistently or regularly absent due to illness(‘faked’ sick days).

18. You Are Being Treated Differently.

Have you noticed that there’s a disparity in the way you are treated compared to your coworkers? For example, they may be praised for their work on a project while your contributions are ignored. Another common situation is that your coworkers are given opportunities to learn and advance while you are not.

19. You Aren’t Their First Victim.

Having a history of sabotage is one of the signs someone is sabotaging you at work. A history of sabotage with wounded workers in their wake should be addressed. If someone is undermining you, chances are they’ve done the same thing before. Do some research. People often blame others for lost promotions and opportunities, but similar complaints about one individual may have merit.

20. They make you jump through hoops others don’t have to.

Do they make it harder or more time consuming to do your job then it needs to be? Do you hear from other colleagues that they don’t have to take extra steps on projects like you do? It could be because your colleague or boss is making up different rules for you so that you fall behind.

21. Your Coworkers “Snitch” on You.

Sabotaging coworkers always run straight to the boss with complaints instead of clueing you in about what you’re doing wrong. This usually happens because they want the boss to have a negative impression of your work ethic.

22. They’re Unreal.

Another sign someone is sabotaging you at work is that they become unreal. If one co-worker is excessively complimentary or seems to have a “fake” personality, it could be a sign. Underminers need to lull victims into false senses of security. Be cautious –– they could be hiding an aggressive, even violent personality. If they “break character,” be prepared. Don’t confront them, rather document patterns.

23. Corporate espionage.

This can also be considered as one of the signs someone is sabotaging you at work. Sometimes referred to as industrial espionage, corporate spying, or economic espionage, corporate espionage is a potentially devastating form of employee sabotage. It generally occurs when a competitor seeks to secure commercially confidential information about your business for the purpose of undermining your operation. For example, there are instances where this type of information gathering is relatively innocuous, where a competitor deploys ‘secret shoppers’ to gain insight into your business.

24. You’re Suddenly Stripped Of Certain Responsibilities.

Losing responsibilities could be a sign that your time with your current employer is limited. Your boss may be trying to show that you aren’t a valuable member of the team. They may also be attempting to imply that you aren’t capable of handling those responsibilities.

25. You Get Asked Strange Questions.

One of the signs someone is sabotaging you at work is you are asked strange questions. Be leery if your coworkers ask you personal questions, strange questions, and questions that pertain to information they shouldn’t know. They may be trying to get some dirt on you or get you to verify information that they found in their “research.”

What To Do If You Are Being Sabotaged At Work?

1. Keep evidence.

Keeping evidence is an important if you are being sabotaged at work. It’s important to keep track of important emails, files, projects and information that might be relevant when disproving the claims of a sabotaging coworker. Doing so can demonstrably show that you haven’t done anything wrong, and it’ll also expose your coworker’s lies and manipulative tactics. 

2. Focus on what you do want, not what you don’t.

By showing you all the worst traits an employee could exhibit, your sabotaging coworker is actually giving you valuable information about how you’d like your career to go. If you hate the way your colleague behaves, think about the opposite of that person… and then try to craft a version of your career that mirrors it. Are they petty and manipulative? Be mature and straightforward. Are they constantly gossiping? Avoid the break room drama and get additional work done at your desk.

3. Damage control.

One of the main things you can do if you are being sabotaged at work is damage control. If your reputation has  taken a hit, it’s important to set the record straight with company leadership. Talk to your boss, your boss’ boss and HR about the situation that’s happening. Moreover, make sure you have a good reputation with these people — doing so will make them question your jealous coworker every time they bring up something bad about you to them. 

4. Remain confident in your abilities.

Another thing you can do if you are being sabotaged at work is being confident to yourself. Experiencing these types of situations at work can cause stress and lower your confidence in your abilities, but it’s important to remember why your manager decided to hire you and to remind yourself of the skills, knowledge and value you bring to the workplace. If your coworker affects your confidence, you may actually struggle with your performance, but if you remain confident, you can continue to succeed and still enjoy the position you’re in.

5. Assume positive intent.

It’s helpful to assume that your jealous coworker is doing what they’re doing for a reason. Maybe that reason ultimately harms you, but in their minds, their “intent” is positive. Think on it for a minute. Do they think that they can do your job better, so they’ve taken to redoing your work? Do they believe they’re a better public speaker, and that’s why they took your idea and presented it to the client in advance?

6. Figure out what you need from the person.

Before you confront your colleague or boss, you’re going to have to talk to the person about their behavior like an adult — it’s helpful to think through the outcome you’re hoping to achieve. Do you want your boss to listen to you more? Do you need your colleague to loosen up on all the rules? Do you wish you’d get more recognition for your work?


FAQs – 25 Signs Someone Is Sabotaging You | What To Do If You Are Being Sabotaged At Work

How Can You Tell If Someone Is Sabotaging You?

It can be difficult to tell if someone is sabotaging you. A mistake that appears for something you have double-checked is a sign of sabotage at work. Also, be wary of someone who always seems to be present when things go wrong for you, especially if they benefit from your failures.

How do you know if someone wants to sabotage you?

The most common sabotage techniques are as follows: Spreading Rumours. Gaslighting. Assigning Unrealistic Deadlines or Tasks. Withholding Information. Exclusion from Communications. Undermining Your Efforts. Passive Aggressive Behaviour.

How do you deal with people sabotaging you?

Offer to resolve the issue. Search for the root of the passive-aggressive behavior. Call them out. Not aggressively or with malice, but just using a simple statement. Remove yourself or that person from the situation.

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