What’s Worse Than a Coworker Who Undermines You?

April 28th, 2013 / No Comments »

By Adam Grant

Bad colleagues can wreak havoc. One of the signs of a bad coworker is a pattern of persistent undermining—intentionally hindering a colleague’s success, reputation, or relationships. If you’ve ever had a coworker actively interfere with your productivity, try to make you look bad, steal your ideas, or give you false information, you’ve been the victim of undermining.

The opposite of an underminer is a supporter. When colleagues are supportive, they go out of their way to be givers rather than takers, working to enhance our productivity, make us look good, share ideas, and provide timely help.

Most people assume that relationships are either bad or good. Our coworkers are either takers who undermine us or givers who support us. But research shows otherwise: negative and positive relationships are independent. Many of us have ambivalent relationships with a colleague who undermines us in some situations but supports us in others. What are the implications of these ambivalent relationships?……