Sabotage is a strong word. But it happens in the workplace more often than you think.
Dr Cheryl Carr, organisational psychologist, business leadership strategist, business professor, trainer, and author, said career sabotage can be divided into two categories: corporate or individual.
“Corporate sabotage is when a past employer uses their influence to prevent you from obtaining work somewhere else with negative or derogatory references. Or it could be if an individual or a group of employees decide to drain the company of all productive energy by being disruptive,” she said.
“Individual sabotage is any time someone places their self and career goals/aspirations in the way of you and your career goals/aspirations in direct opposition, even if they do it subtly. They are not for you or your success, period! They can be exceedingly difficult to detect and it can be deadly to your career without your knowledge.”
Sound scary? There’s no need to panic or start watching your back every time you interact with your co-workers. But it is important to be aware of any subtle signs that people at work are trying to undermine your success. And if that’s the case, keep in mind you might not need to immediately jump ship.
According to Dr Carr, if you are being sabotaged, you should focus on one question: What is best for you and your career in the long run? Not all sabotage is fatal, and some of it backfires and exposes bad team players. You may remain standing while saboteurs get moved or replaced.
This type of toxic experience might even lead you to assess your company culture with a more critical eye and make empowered career decisions.
If you have any doubt your co-workers are sabotaging your success, look out for the seven subtle signs below.