How to Confront a Back-Stabber. This is going to come in handy one day soon!

I saw this post about how to confront a back-stabber and all these warm fuzzy thoughts came back to my head about being stabbed in the back by a former colleague.  I hoped this article would give me all kinds of ways in which I could get even should the situation arise.  

So I read the article and none of recommendations mesh with what I had thought about doing to her should our paths cross again.  Well, that and besides being too lazy to seek her out, I hate confrontation.

I wondered how I would approach this person should I ever see them again, but with the approach this article takes – talking to the back-stabber in a non-threatening environment, knowing they take this approach because they are insecure and that possibly they do this to protect a friend – it takes the emotion out of the confrontation and provides a safe environment to let that person know you are on to their deceptive ways.

Here is the story;

In my previous employment I applied for many management positions but never was picked up. None of it made sense since I had recently completed my MBA and besides being senior there, I really liked dealing with people and it would have been a fun challenge managing unionized staff. I would have welcomed the challenge / frustration and I was ready.

There was one position in particular which I really set my sites on – it was in a different office and I met all the criteria. It would have been ideal for me.  New challenge, new people, a fresh start in an office where no one is judging me on anything but my work.

I applied and was contacted right away by their HR area telling me I was the best candidate so far and that all I needed was 3 references.

I chose them.

One of them happened to be a team leader that I had for only 6 weeks, but knew back when she first started there and I watched as she had kids and came back as a team leader.

For the 3 months before her arrival, I ran the team informally – handled all escalations, staffing matters, set up the goals and objectives for the team and laid them out at team meetings. When she arrived, I gave her all the information and took a step back.

She sought out my opinion and asked me to continue helping out with the day-to-day operations. I did.

Then after 6 weeks, she left to accept another position (without telling the team) and her boss assigned the team to a different team leader who asked me to continue to run it for her.

Sounds okay, right.

Here is where it gets wacky.

Since it takes ages for government processes to run their course, 5 or 6 months had passed when I was approached out of no where by a colleague about a rumour that she had heard that I was not going to get this position because this outgoing TL had told the hiring board that I was a terrible leader.

How this colleague even knew I had applied was a shock to me, and I suspected at the time that what had happened was that the board called this TL, but she had already spoken to her friend who is best friends with a girl who sits near me who I really never spoke to and in a very childish matter decided to tell these lies to the hiring board.  Silly as it seems (and those of you never having worked in government you may think this is all crap, but it is SO true and happens all the time). 

Sure enough, I was not hired for this position.

When I called HR, they said a better candidate was found.

Bullshit, I called.

So when I left that job, I asked HR for access to all my records and in doing so I was given a copy of the written reference that this TL provided to the board.

It was all lies.

In the area that asked if I had ever led a team formally or informally, she said “no”.

In the area where it asked if I had any experience with goals or objectives, she said “no”.

Under the last area asking if I was good with people and would – in her opinion – be able to lead a team, she said, “no”.

And as such, due to her treating this matter like it was a big high-school joke – I was denied this position.

I wanted to confront her, now 2 years after the fact. I still do.  But not because I still hold a grudge or have a hard-on for these folks but because with the casualness this woman lied to the hiring board, she can and probably will do the same to others.  I wonder how she would feel if that happened to her, or her kids?

But what would I say? I’m an emotional guy and this really pissed me off once I saw the written reference was all lies.

Now I know.

I’ll update this post if I do.

8 thoughts on “How to Confront a Back-Stabber. This is going to come in handy one day soon!

  1. A lot of really good people were lost there due to poor management. Look at the bright side, as a result you looked elsewhere for better opportunities and found them.

  2. I used to dream of the day when I can confront a back-stabber that smiled to me as it was done, still thinking this person had my back… In all actuality there is nothing that I could say or do to this person to ever correct the situation.

    I have seen karma deliver a blow to this person that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. The saddest part is that she still doesn’t get it.

    Congrats on your better job and your beautiful family. :)

  3. True point butif you let these people get away with it over and over again it becomes acceptable to them. They need to know – in this case, she needs to know that I know what she did. I just want to know why. Obviously this turned of awesome for me but what about others she does this to?

  4. Thanks Becky. I agree that karma is a bitch but after reading this article I now see the merit to confronting someone without emotion to not only let them know that you are aware of their actions but that you have not forgotten.

    I think like bullies, they continue to do it because they get away with it.

  5. People get deep sixed by their references more often than you think. If you ever have any doubt about a reference, you should have a friend call them posing as a reference checker for some other company. I’ve done it and it’s worth it to know you’re not getting torpedoed.

  6. Jo, I could not agree with you more! Having hired my fair share of staff, I often wonder when reaching out to referencesw if they are feeding me a line when they prasie the person. Makes you wonder if they are that good, why are they looking for work… Then you hire then and you know why.

    And your suggestion is fantastic!!! I have never thought of that. Wonderful.

    Thanks for taking the time to post a comment.

  7. Warren, I am really sorry that happened to you. But like the previous posters stated this happens more often than we would like to believe.You are so right that she will
    continue to do this because there have never been any consequences.If you have the reports stating that you did not team lead, when you actually did, and also other colleagues, who I am sure liked you, could you sue for defamation of character?I agree with Jo having a friend call up and question for a reference would be interesting.Maybe it could be taped as well. Karma is a
    bitch and it does happen.
    Whenever I get angry or upset about something similar
    my Husband Ian always says to me.The best revenge is to live well. Granted she is a sociopath devoid of any
    empathy for anyone else or their family. Obviously someone there gave her an oppourtunity .Would it have hurt her to have told the truth at least even if she did not have to be flowery about it . Maybe she has jealousy issues and was worried that if you were promoted you would surpass her in next round of promos.
    Have you ever considered sending her the article and then the responses of your followers.(ha,ha)
    At any rate I have been there and I have the bloody scars to prove it.Bell Canada being built on the old military style model is one of the most politically backstabbing corporations in the world.I survived, and you have done well for yourself and your family.In the words of my beloved Ian.”Live well and be well”.
    Cheers, Beth

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