Have you ever encountered them? Those people who are pleasant and forthcoming when you are with them, but who act against you once you have turned your back? If you have dealt with such colleagues, you know how frustrating it is, especially if you are their boss. In this insight we’ll provide a couple of ideas on how to deal with a backstabbing coworker.

5 tips deal with backstabbing coworker


1. Ask yourself: is it only me; or is it everybody?

If a co-worker is a backstabber, there’s probably something that is bothering them. The question is: does this person only backstab you, or has it become a personality trait? If it’s only you … you might ask yourself how you might have contributed to the situation.

2. Name the drama

Dare to discuss the situation with your co-worker. After a situation where they acted against you, go for a very serene discussion. Start with a very neutral description of what happened, tell you didn’t like what occurred, and invite them to give their perspective on what occurred (let them talk first).

3. Clarify their underlying objective

The Judas in the team often wants to ‘win a battle’. They want to reach an objective, and they consider you are getting in their way. Identify what it is they are truly after (something really, really important to them), show you understand it, and show you respect it. (Even if it is your job they are after – you can show appreciation for their desire to get the company or their career to the next level).

4. Identify how you can support them

There’s that famous expression: ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’. Help them make the switch from seeing you as their ‘opponent’ to seeing you as their ‘ally’. Show you can be a resource to them. Clarify how you can help them get closer to their objective.

5. Show genuine appreciation

People who ‘betray’ regularly do so because they get a thrill from it. It makes them feel powerful. Give the backstabber in your team other ways to feel powerful, so they don’t have to act like a judas anymore. Show appreciation. Ask for their advice. Just make sure you come across as confident and sincere.


These 5 tips on how to deal with a backstabbing coworker are not necessarily easy, but adopt them, and you should see the situation improve. 

Contact us if you want if you want to create more alignment & engagement in your team.