Intrigue at work: methods of struggle

Intriguers and gossipers are deservedly considered the worst colleagues. After all, who would like people who spread rumors and take advantage of other people’s weaknesses? Avoiding toxic employees isn’t always possible, but that doesn’t mean you have to play by other people’s rules.

What types of schemer are there?

The American psychologist John Zion distinguished five types of schemer:

1 An activist – confident that he is fighting for the “right cause.”

2 Lobbyist – seeks to defend his project at all costs.

3 Advisor – the “eyes” and “ears” of the leader.

4 A know-it-all – has his own opinion on any issue and pretends to know all the secrets of his colleagues.

5 Backstage schemer – communicative, easily trusts people. Moves up the career ladder through manipulation rather than through achievement at work.

You can also become a schemer unintentionally. For example, by telling a colleague in confidence about his speculations about his supervisor. Such an employee does not realize that he or she is damaging the company’s work by spreading rumors. As a rule, it is enough to talk to him, explaining the consequences of such behavior.

People who intrigue deliberately and enjoy the result are much more dangerous. They rarely act openly. They pass off painful quips as jokes, and when they gossip, they hide behind the mask of a truth-teller, ready to reveal the truth to people at any moment.

Intrigue at work: psychology and tactics of those who build intrigues

Intriguers are curious, cautious and jealous. As a rule, they have a low level of professionalism and problems with self-esteem, so they strive for success by collecting dirt on competitors. These can be real but exaggerated facts, supplemented by false conclusions.

A more prolonged tactic is to wear down opponents. Intrigue lovers rub into the victim’s trust: they go to lunch together, talk about business and personal issues. And finding weaknesses, put a person in an uncomfortable position in front of all.

Intrigueurs who dare to openly confront their colleagues, complain to the higher authorities. Kirill Kabanov, chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Committee, says this method is often used in government agencies.

The psychology of scheming is described in detail in Jopp Sgrijvers’ book “How to Be a Rat. The Art of Intrigue and Survival at Work.” The author suggests looking at the world through the eyes of manipulators and see if you recognize yourself in one of them.

Employee intrigue: How much of a danger to the manager?

Some managers consider intrigue at work as part of the mechanism of internal competition. But in fact, they interfere with the common cause:

1 Lead to staff turnover. According to a study by psychologists Charlotte Rainer and Loralie Kishley, one in four victims of bullying and one in five witnesses to bullying are fired.

2 Undermine the authority of superiors. Employees suffering at the hands of a bully wait for a supervisor to step in and restore order. Not to do so is to show weakness or loyalty to gossip.

3 Stall business processes. Discussing fresh gossip can reduce employee productivity. Their thoughts will be occupied not with work but with the shocking news told by the intriguer.

4 Introducing division. The team may divide into two groups – some believe the gossip and others do not. Naturally, the cohesive work in this case is out of the question.

5 Interfere with the manager to make informed decisions. For example, during staff reduction, there may be a desire to dismiss those about whom unpleasant rumors are disseminated, even if they work better than the others.

Intrigue at work: the psychology of the winner

The fight against intrigue and psychological harassment (mobbing) at work should be comprehensive. Both the participation of the supervisor and the correct behavior of each employee are important.

Actions of Bosses: How to React to Office Intrigues

Gennady Pysanko, employment consultant at World Staff, notes that intrigues often arise in companies with weak corporate spirit (where employees are not ready for reciprocity and common goals). To rally employees, you need to:

Keep the team informed of everything that’s going on in the company. Try to emphasize common achievements rather than individual successes. The system of rewards and sanctions should be transparent and clear to everyone.

Create a common channel of communication, such as a chat in a messenger. This brings everyone closer together and avoids the effect of “deaf phones,” when one part of the information is lost and the other is distorted.

Introduce the team to newcomers. You can do this in an informal setting where everyone can relax and show their personal qualities.

Organize corporate recreational activities. General activities will reduce the risk of splitting the team into separate groups that are hostile to each other.

It is important to clearly show his negative attitude towards gossip and intrigue. It is worth adhering to this position even during informal meetings with the team.

Intrigue at work: How to emerge victorious from a battle with a colleague

According to an anonymous survey, 40% of Americans engage in office intrigue. Moreover, 78% of those surveyed admitted that they would hurt an unpleasant colleague if they were confident of their own impunity. This means that the chance of never encountering a schemer is minimal.

To survive a corporate fight, use the following tips:

Don’t get involved in discussions with colleagues and management. Consider whether you would be able to say the same thing in that person’s presence. If not, it is best to refrain from commenting.

Avoid talking about your weaknesses, fears and concerns. Detractors can use this information against you, first distorting it to the point of absurdity.

Do not allow yourself to be compromised. If for a good reason you will be late to work or will have to leave early, warn your bosses, even if a colleague promises to “cover for you”.

Talk less about personal successes. This can lead to jealousy and make you a target for intrigues.

Check all the information that comes your way and don’t believe gossip.

Of course, it is easy to make a mistake and tell a couple of juicy stories from his own biography at the corporate party. But whatever happens, behave confidently – so the intrigue will be harder to hurt you.