Working Wounded: Backstabbing Peers

Q U E S T I O N: I work with a guy who is a real killer. He'll smile at you one moment and stab you in the back the next. I have no choice about working with him. What can I do?

— Watching My Back

A N S W E R: I always cheer for the underdog, so I just loved it when I heard that a poodle had gotten the best of a pit bull in Gothenburg, Sweden. The two met on the street, and, as expected, the pit bull tried to intimidate the poodle. So the poodle took a mouthful of flesh out of the pit bull. But she didn't stop there: then she went after the pit bull's owner.

I'm against violence of the two-legged or four-legged variety. But there is no denying that there is a certain satisfaction when the meek do get their shot at inheriting the Earth. It's no different at work. As you face down your own pit bull, review the options listed below. For more, check out Pollan and Levin's book, Lifescripts (Macmillan, 1997).

Take today's ballot.

It is possible for the underdog to have his day. But to do that you've got to be willing occasionally to bite back.

Online Ballot and Contest

Here are the results from a recent online ballot: Has a strength of yours ever gotten you in trouble at work?

Strengths. What Strengths? — 8.6percent. No — 12.9 percent Yes — 78.4 percent.

Winning Strategy

Our winning strategy comes from Rosie C. in San Francisco. "Over the years it has been made clear to me that my strengths are only as useful as they are flexible; and my flexibility is measured by my willingness to change. What you have done in the past does not count as much as what you are doing now. This does not mean that experience is not important, because it is. It is how one uses and shares their experience that can make the difference. I have found that sometimes it is more effective to share my experience through example, rather then pontification. It takes a special talent to teach others in a way that empowers them, instead of making them feel inadequate. My strengths are like any other tool I have; it is vital that I keep them maintained and updated. Most importantly, it keeps me from taking myself too seriously, which can come in pretty handy when I fall flat on my face."

List of the Week

Bob Rosner is the author of the #1 Amazon Business Best-Seller, The Boss's Survival Guide (McGraw Hill, 2001), a speaker, and founder of the award-winning & E-mail him at publishes a new Working Wounded column every Friday.