Who is the backstabber in your office? Are they in your team? Is it your colleague, a team member, other senior management or even your boss?
It doesn’t really matter who they are, or if you know who they are, but you still need to protect yourself from potential backstabbers. I have been in a few situations over the years when I trusted someone and then they stabbed me in the back .. it totally caught me unawares. First time shame on them, second time shame on me.
Since then I have learned to not trust anyone at work – because at the end of the day, its you or them when it comes down to the wire.
So how to protect yourself from the back stabber?
One simple way is to get everything in writing. When you send an email, BCC yourself. Keep a copy. Make sure your email keeps all emails (sent and deleted) for a month. And save the important ones that could be controversial or cause issues later on in a personal folder.
If you are meeting with someone over a topic that you think could cause an issue, send out notes by email after the meeting or call. And keep a copy. “we discussed this and you agreed..”
By keeping a paper trail you can cover yourself by retrieving the email when necessary.
Just last week a senior VP at my company emailed me and copied my boss to ask about a file she said she never received despite the fact I had sent it a week prior, plus she had been informed about this file at many meetings over prior weeks. Likely she was busy and just overlooked it but also knowing her as a backstabber, I simply retrieved the prior email from my sent items and forwarded it to her and copied my boss. I included a new cover note which said “Sorry you missed my last email – resending below”.
This shows her and my boss that I didn’t dropbox the ball.. she did. And I avoided a potential blame game.