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Executive Assistants Beware, Dealing with a Saboteur

Executive Assistants Beware, Dealing with a Saboteur

Gloria just finished a temp assignment and experienced an awful case of sabotaging by a peer admin who is a lot younger than her and has been with the company for a year. She asks for information on dealing with a saboteur. Gloria said that she noticed this administrative assistant manages upward and is passive aggressive and well connected in the company where she works. While Gloria has finished her temp assignment, she wants to be prepared should she meet Sally Saboteur in the future.

Well, this is a tough one. The reason I say that is because many of these situations are not black and white; they are usually gray and therefore difficult to give the best possible advice. Here are a few thoughts.

1. Passive aggressive people are hard to identify because they appear nice to you or agree with you and then they are ‘mean’ behind your back. It is very hard to pinpoint those actions or gather facts to support your case. Norma Carr-Ruffino has had some good material on behaviors such as: assertive, passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive. You might want to do a search on the Internet for her material.

2. Gloria did mention that her supervisor understood. This is one thing you can do to be prepared in the future. That is to always build good relationships with your immediate manager and a foundation of trust. We all need someone in the workplace who has some power and authority and will be our champion. Of course, it’s always good to build good relationships with other key people in your organization and Human Resources.



3. Develop being assertive. It is more difficult for an aggressive or passive-aggressive to intimidate an assertive person. Again, there are hundreds of resources on how to be assertive. I believe I have written about this in previous blogs on my web site.

4. As much as you hate to do this, keep in mind, this person is usually insecure and lacks confidence.

What are some of your experiences? How have you handled Sally Saboteur?

Related Reads for the Executuive Assistant:
Do-It-Yourself Career Development
Earning Your Rightful Place at the Top
Are You Emotionally Intelligent?
Dying to Get Ahead? 10 Tips for Reinventing Yourself


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