6 Ways To Handle Being Undermined at Work

What does being undermined at work mean? Being undermined means that someone you work with is saying things or taking certain actions that may make others question your professionalism, knowledge, abilities or ethics.

Most people have experienced a situation where they believe a coworker is undermining them. Personally, I find open hostility to be preferable to undermining because it is at least overt and therefore simpler to deal with. Undermining, on the other hand, is subtle. It is not readily apparent like bullying or harassment. Because undermining is subversive, it is more challenging to detect and report.

Being sabotaged in this manner may cause you to wonder if you’re being overly sensitive or if you’re just dreaming. The situation can be difficult to identify and difficult to deal with, and that is the evil genius of one who undermines. This month’s column will address those issues, beginning with how to recognize people who try to undermine you.

Undermining Boss | 8 Signs You are Being Undermined at Work (& What to Do About It)

What does being undermined at work mean?

Being undermined is when someone you work with says or does something that might lead others to doubt your expertise, morals, or professionalism. One of the most concerning negative effects of being undermined at work is that managers and other coworkers may lose respect for you if they believe a false impression of you as an employee or peer.

Someone may be undermining you if they:

While a coworker may criticize you at work for a variety of reasons, you may be able to handle the situation so that you can keep enjoying your job and the people you work with.

6 ways to handle coworkers who impede your work experience

Consider these options to handle the situation if someone at work is potentially doing things to harm your professional reputation:

1. Build your relationship

One reason coworkers might exhibit this behavior is that they mistakenly think you don’t enjoy working with them. Even though you may not have done anything to provoke these emotions, it’s still critical to uphold solid bonds with those you work with. Look for opportunities to get to know someone more personally if you notice that they are treating you poorly. Asking about their weekend, genuinely showing interest in their interests, or inviting them to lunch are all good places to start. Being kind in the face of negative behavior typically yields more advantageous outcomes.

2. Address the issue

It’s beneficial to be straightforward when expressing your opinions and to deal with the offender right away. You can request a private meeting with your coworker, and during this meeting, be open and honest about how their words and actions affect you at work. Perhaps you will both understand why they are saying what they are saying and why you think it is not good for your professional standing. To make them more conscious of their actions, share specific and recent examples of their behavior.

Consider speaking with your manager or asking a member of human resources to mediate the conversation between you and your coworker if their actions are so egregious that you feel uncomfortable approaching them.

3. Ignore the behavior

You can decide to ignore the poor behavior and make every effort to carry on with your work to the best of your abilities if your circumstances aren’t severe enough to have an impact on your work or your relationships with others. When you must interact with your problematic coworker, you may decide to remain friendly with them, but you may eventually come to the conclusion that it is not worthwhile for you to deal with their behavior. You can maintain a positive attitude and only interact with this person if you absolutely have to, especially if you don’t have to work with them too closely.

4. Ask for clarification

Ask your coworker what they mean when they make a negative joke about your performance or start questioning your work as soon as they do so. This might make them think twice about what they said and how you might have interpreted it.

If you decide to seek clarification, keep your composure and act professionally so that your colleague can take your question well and provide an truthful response. They might not be aware of what they are doing, and if you point it out to them, your professional relationship may improve as a result.

5. Remain confident in your abilities

When you encounter these kinds of situations at work, it can be stressful and make you doubt your abilities. However, it’s important to keep in mind the reasons your manager hired you and to remind yourself of the abilities, knowledge, and value you bring to the office.

If your coworker undermines your confidence, your performance may suffer; however, if you maintain your confidence, you can continue to succeed and still enjoy your job. A coworker may lose interest in continuing if you maintain your confidence by demonstrating that their words and actions have no bearing on you.

6. Identify the reason for the action

Before you can handle the situation effectively, think about why your coworker might be acting in this way. Treating your teammate in this manner could be motivated by a variety of factors, such as jealousy, rivalry, or the projection of their own experiences and insecurities. You might be able to approach them in a way that fosters a stronger professional relationship as well as mutual respect and understanding by making an effort to understand their motivations.


Why do colleagues undermine you?

Think about the potential causes behind your coworker’s treatment of you in order to determine the best course of action. Undermining behavior can have a variety of motivations, such as envy, rivalry, and the projection of their own insecurities.

What is an example of undermining someone?

She made a complaint about me to my boss in an attempt to undermine my authority. People’s faith in the government has been weakened by the recent events.

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