Don’t Butt Heads with Betty

No doubt you’ve dealt with a Backstabbing Betty at some point in your career. You know the one–she’s nice to your face. But she can’t wait until you turn your back so she can tell the surgery tech all about how you screwed up one out of fifty prescription refills today.

And let’s not forget her penchant for sabotage. Remember how she offered to take that adorable golden retriever into the exam room? And how a few minutes later, Dr. C walked out of the room and asked where the dog was? Backstabbing Betty politely mentioned that you were the one taking care of it, and then gave you a lip-glossed smirk.

female hand with knife isolated on white background

Beware of Backstabbers

Deceitful or underhanded people deliberately lie, cheat, and double-cross. They are sneaky, snarky masters of half-truths and distorted situations. They will go to great lengths to make themselves look good by making you look bad. Their number-one concern is their career, not yours.

Backstabber Colleagues:

  • Are very nice to your face, but very critical of you behind your back
  • Spread vicious rumors
  • Take credit for your ideas and/or hard work in order to shine
  • Sabotage your efforts
  • Seek to destroy you

This type of co-worker can make your life absolutely miserable. You might find yourself being unduly criticized and publicly humiliated. When someone sabotages your tasks and projects, it can paint an inaccurate picture of you as an employee. Rumors cause emotional wounds, and they can tarnish or ruin your personal reputation.

How to Beat a Backstabber

Take care of this situation immediately! Backstabbers will stop at nothing, and you can’t afford to hide or pretend it’s not happening. And if you’re hoping it will get better, it just won’t. She is not going to have a sudden change of heart and become Beatific Betty.

Here are some tips:

When dealing with a Backstabbing Betty, form alliances with positive people who give you support and help you squash negative talk and unscrupulous behavior.

Pay close attention to what she says. Be mindful of how you feel around her. Ask for clarification if you receive mixed signals.

Definitely confront her! Backstabbing and double-crossing are forms of manipulation by someone who is disloyal, insecure, jealous, inept, vengeful, and unable to maintain relationships of any kind. Confronting someone with this personality will not be fun, but it is essential. Lies, gossip, and sabotaged projects can not only ruin your professional life, but they can cause irreparable damage to your personal life as well. Make sure you have your facts straight, then privately address the situation with fortitude and boldness. Try a statement such as:

“I need your help understanding why you offered to take Champ into the exam room but didn’t. I also would like you to clarify why you told the doc that I was taking care of it. Because of your actions, the doc was not pleased, and he was late seeing the next client. While I don’t know what motivated you to do this, I do know that I won’t accept this happening again. I’ve spoken to the doc and he seems to better understand what happened. Please know that I am not the type of person who will stand by and watch while you continue to undermine me, impede the care of our patients, and waste the doc’s time. If you have a problem with me, I’d like to resolve this now so that we can work together more effectively from here on out.”

It doesn’t feel good to be criticized. But when the Backstabber’s criticism is legitimate, acknowledge it and work to resolve the situation. Own the mistake if it was yours, and apologize.

If her criticism is not legitimate, tell her so.

Offering a graceful way out of a confrontation will help to ease the pain and embarrassment for both of you. Use humor if you are comfortable with it. Humor promotes healing while moving forward in a positive manner. You could say something like:

“I’m sure you didn’t mean for things to go this far, and I trust it won’t happen again. From here on out, I pinky-swear to stay on your good side. Besides, now that I know even more about your ‘talents,’ I want you on my side! Let’s do lunch on Thursday and discuss the inventory. I bet you have some great ideas about managing it.”

If you’ve talked to Betty and she won’t back down or capitulate in any way, you’ll have to take the complaint to your boss. Don’t focus on hurt feelings. Instead, show how the gossip or sabotage is causing the business to suffer.

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