Persecuted at Work? Six Ways to Defend Yourself

In most corporate environments you have worked in, your colleagues probably ?played nice? with you. But what happens when you come under attack in the office? Whether it is nasty office gossip or an outright assault on you as a professional, being attacked in the office can be damaging to your career in the short and long term. That?s why you need to look out for No. 1 and protect yourself if you become the subject of an office attack.

Say, for example, that a jealous co-worker is gunning for your job and is feeding your manager tall tales of mistakes made by you that are just not true. How can you handle this without sounding like someone who is defensive, paranoid, or just plain whiny? Here are a couple of strategies to take to make sure you are protecting your best interests.

1. Keep good, detailed records of your work.

One of the best ways to counteract an attack on your professional character is to have the documentation to prove your worth. This means keeping important files, notes of your meetings and conversations with others, important e-mails, letters of praise from others, and more.

2. Learn how to toot your own horn.

Many people shy away from the spotlight. While modesty is an admirable trait, you must help others see your value if you come under attack. It?s important that your superiors see the good work you do. Copy your boss on e-mails to show that you are getting the job done. Give frequent updates about projects to demonstrate that you are on top of things. Invite your manager to meetings so he or she can see you shine.

3. Stay out of the office grapevine.

One of the best ways to defend yourself during an attack is to remain professional. If a co-worker is insulting your performance or character, you will only help his or her cause by throwing back similar gossip or insults. You won?t come out ahead by engaging in an office catfight.

4. Don't become oblivious.

Sometimes, we just want to come into the office, get our work done, and ignore what is going on around us. But disengaging too much can mean trouble. While you do need to stay out of the rumor mill, you must also be aware of how others perceive you and what they say about you.

5. Have an honest conversation with your manager.

If a colleague is attacking you, sit down and have an open conversation with your supervisor. Explain your position calmly, without getting angry or upset. This meeting is where your documentation will come in handy. If your colleague is attacking your performance, you will be able to demonstrate your worth and prove your attacker wrong.

6. Utilize your company's resources.

The HR department is a very important resource available to all employees in the workplace. If you cannot resolve the issue by talking to your boss, set up a meeting with a senior level HR professional and lay out your case. Prepare for this meeting just as you would for a meeting with your manager and take your supporting information. Even if your HR department is not able to fix the situation, your meeting will be on record.

The business world is highly competitive and it is important defend your performance and reputation from those who try to undermine it. Always be professional and learn how to calmly stand up for yourself in the office.

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