Audio Version (04:48)
In the world of work, collaboration and teamwork are highly valued. Yet, despite these ideals, it’s not uncommon to encounter undermining behaviour from peers, bosses, or subordinates.
Understanding why someone might undermine you at work is crucial to addressing the issue effectively.
In this post (another topic that’s been requested by my YouTube viewers), I explore the potential reasons behind workplace undermining.
To watch the extended YouTube version, click here.
Why People Undermine Others
There are, of course, many reasons why someone might decide to undermine you, and although it may be a boss, subordinate or coworker who’s doing the undermining, the reasons behind it are pretty universal:
1. Jealousy and Insecurity
One of the most common reasons for workplace undermining is jealousy and insecurity. When someone feels threatened or inadequate in comparison to their colleagues, they may resort to undermining behaviour to level the playing field or gain a perceived advantage.
This can manifest in various ways, such as spreading rumours, sabotaging projects, or trying to undermine your confidence.
2. Competition and Ambition
Workplaces are often competitive environments, and individuals with high ambitions may resort to undermining their peers or superiors to climb the corporate ladder.
They might view their colleagues as obstacles in their path to success and use various tactics to hinder their progress.
This could involve taking credit for others’ work, spreading negative feedback, or undermining projects intentionally.
3. Insecurity About Their Own Role
In some cases, colleagues might feel insecure about their own role within the organisation, leading them to undermine you to make themselves look more valuable.
By diminishing your performance or reputation, they may believe that they are securing their own position in the company.
4. Fear of Exposure
Sometimes, individuals who engage in undermining behaviour have something to hide, such as incompetence, unethical practices, or a lack of skills.
They may undermine you to divert attention away from their own shortcomings and create a smokescreen to protect themselves from scrutiny.
5. Lack of Recognition
If someone feels that their hard work and contributions go unnoticed or unappreciated, they may resort to undermining their colleagues as a way of seeking recognition or acknowledgement.
This can be especially challenging when a peer feels they deserve promotions or rewards they haven’t received.
Workplace undermining is a complex issue that can be emotionally and professionally taxing.
By understanding the potential motivations behind such behaviour and employing strategies like open and constructive communication, documentation, and seeking support, you can address the issue effectively.
Ultimately, a combination of these strategies, along with a resilient mindset, can help you navigate the complexities of workplace undermining and maintain a positive and productive work environment for yourself and your colleagues.
To learn three strategies to combat workplace undermining, watch the extended version of this article on my YouTube channel here.
I could not be more thrilled with the way the channel is growing. If you’ve already taken the time to watch some of my videos and subscribe, thank you so much! I’ve just reached the 500 subscriber mark, which I’m told is brilliant, in just three months, so I couldn’t be more thrilled.
If there’s a topic you’d like me to cover in an article or extended YouTube version, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll add it to the list.
Each video takes up to 20 hours to write, record and edit, so I want to make sure that I’m spending that time wisely to give you content that’s most useful to you.
If you enjoyed this article, please be sure to share it with your friends and colleagues.
Finally, thanks for your continued support.