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July 21, 2008

101: Office Sabotage

The Creative Group, an international staffing firm, recently conducted a survey of advertising and marketing executives and found that 50 percent of those surveyed reported cases of coworker sabotage. Here are six tips from The Creative Group on how to deal with coworkers that try to make you look bad:

Give yourself time to cool down. Don’t respond in the heat of the moment. Instead, wait until you are calm to start a discussion.

Look at the situation from every angle. What were your colleague’s intentions? Did you play a role in the problem? Before you confront someone, try to identify his or her motives, as well as any steps you could have taken to avoid the situation.

Chat in person, if possible. E-mailing about a sensitive situation can lead to misinterpretation, since you don’t have the benefit of body language or vocal inflection.

Explain the impact. Rather than hurling accusations, calmly explain how your colleague’s actions have made you feel. Then give him or her a chance to respond.

Listen actively. Pay close attention to what your coworker has to say. Even if you disagree, you’ll get a better sense of how that person thinks, which can help you predict future behavior.

Know when to get help. Immediately alert your manager and human resources department to situations that appear serious. 

Source: The Creative Group,

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