Hospitality Recruiters know the common job interview skills, and your ability to answer questions. Don’t answer questions with vague ‘canned’ answers.

Success is in the details.

Sometimes we are forced out of a good job. There is very little we can do in a scenario where toxic communication is supported, except to protect ourselves and move on. Is someone planting negative thoughts in your head? Is someone warning you about ‘upper management’s attitude or mood? Are you being fed information?

Toxic Communication: Gossip and Lies

Sometimes a person is looking out for us and letting us now that we need to start working on our resume. If your resume and skillset is out of date, then you probably found the reason why they are thinking of replacing you. You can either give one last Hail Mary, or you can reconnect with your recruiter.

Don’t get angry and defend yourself from gossip. First, that is not the best way to find out what is really going on in your business. Gossip creates discord. If someone is going into your department and spreading gossip then they are probably trying to destroy your team. If the gossip is about you, then you know they have decided they want you out, or want your job

They Take Credit For Your Work

In many organizations we assume that we will not get credit for our work. This is the sign of a bad manager, and/or an insecure person. There is more to this than just taking credit for your work publicly.

A lot of managers feel that there is a problem but they cannot put their finger on it. They produce good work and receive a dismissive response. It is almost impossible to fight back when someone is dropping simple hints, lies to undermine you.  ‘have they turned in that project in yet? No? (looking heart broken) I put so much work in that project so they could solve some of their departmental problems.

It is almost impossible to defend yourself from lies and gossip, because you never know what is being said until it is too late.

Dealing with Fake People

One of the easiest ways to identify the people who are going to undermine your career is to find the people who are ‘too good to be true.’ Especially if your opinion of them differs from other people’s opinions of them. And, if their attitude, beliefs, and work ethic are not consistent with their productivity, team performance, and work record.

One of the problems with charismatic and manipulative people is that you do need to establish a working relationship with them, without making yourself vulnerable to their attacks. They usually do not start out with a target. In many cases destroying careers is a habit. They may not even consciously be leaving a path of destruction behind them.

The easiest way to identify these people is by asking yourself – are they cognitive or emotional. People driven by emotions have a difficult time working cognitively. They are friendly and liked by everyone. But they are not very productive.  If you find someone like this then keep calm, do your work, and don’t become emotionally involved. Keep your distance.

Others Treat You Differently

We mentioned this before but it will probably be your only clue. They will often treat you like you are the evil person. Remember ‘abusive people act like the victim. Victims rarely speak out.’ If someone is complaining a lot, acting like they are being abused, and are ‘hanging in there’ then be careful. They are probably the aggressor. Take care about becoming involved in their ‘game’ because once they are finished with one victim they will need to find another.

Fight or Flight?

Managers need to learn to deal with these, because you will face it in every company.  The best way to win is to do neither. Do not try to defend yourself, it will make you look weak and will make you vulnerable to further attack. Do not move to another company. You will find the same conflicts, and within a few years you will have the reputation of a company hopper.

The Good News: You Can Protect Yourself

Why do people always side with the aggressor? It is a hard question to answer. Psychologist and researchers of organizational behavior could save companies millions if they could answer this question. Many good managers lose their jobs and no one realizes they were manipulated until after the fact.

The managers who lost their job are to blame, as well. If they knew how to ‘manage’ difficult people then they wouldn’t have lost their job.

#1 Do no argue.

This doesn’t mean that you avoid all arguments that start. It means that you learn to communicate in a way that doesn’t give anyone an opportunity to contradict you.

It also means don’t gossip, talk negatively about someone, or do any form of correspondence that doesn’t leave a paper trail.

#2 Speak To Your Boss Directly

Act don’t React.  Don’t wait for something to happen. Don’t end up reacting to their actions. Take control. Measure results. Document projects. Keep a paper trail. And, be the problem solver. Ask your bosses how you can help them. Finish your work on time. Do extra work.

Ask your boss questions and then listen. Let your boss do most of the talking. Any career coach will tell you that the easiest and fastest way to get someone on your side is to listen to them and help them solve their problems.

If you invest in the relationship you share with your boss then it will be more difficult for anyone to undermine you.  Sometimes it only takes a few check ups a week to protect yourself form disgruntled employees.

#3 Most important: Be happy, pleasant, polite and calm.

Attitudes are contagious.

#4 Do Not Confront Your Coworker.

Mangers have an easier time with this problem than employees. Remain positive. Involve them in projects. Document what is to be done, when, and by whom.

Being defensive is the best way to empower a toxic person. Remember that you are playing their game. They know the rules. They know their strengths and weaknesses. You are not going to learn enough to ‘win’ by playing their game.

Shift the paradigm and make them play the game your way.

#5 Your Boss Is Not An Idiot

Take a deep breath and wait. Your boss has seen this before. Your boss has probably been a victim. A good boss will sit back and wait to see who proves true. Keep acting as if your boss understands the truth. Do your job. Keep being valuable. And don’t let your emotions get control of your work ethic.


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