How Do I Deal With Bickering and Backstabbing?

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

Female nurse in blue scrubs upset with bickering and backstabbing in the workplace

People in groups, especially in professionally structured groups, tend to bicker with each other about the way things should be run. It’s human nature for people to have differing opinions that lead to arguments. No workplace would be complete without a little bickering and backstabbing. But it gets old, tends to solve nothing and creates a counterproductive work environment.

Here are some tips on avoiding it:

1. The best thing to do is to stay busy and try to avoid the controversy. Why bother with it? There are sick people who are suffering all around you. Don’t waste your time dealing with “political” intrigue. Stick to your tasks. Do the best job that you can do, and stay away from the gossip machine.

2. If you’re frustrated with a coworker, you may need to vent. If you feel the need to discuss these issues with others, make sure to vent to the appropriate people—your family and friends outside of the workplace. Don’t vent to your boss or openly to other coworkers unless you’re going to offer constructive criticism.

3. If the gossip starts to fly and you are there in the middle, don’t engage. Excuse yourself or change the subject.

4. Are you being asked your opinion on a coworker? Refuse to answer. Simply state that you don’t take sides. You’ll be known as a neutral party, and people may stop trying to engage you in these fruitless undertakings.

How do you deal with workplace bickering and backstabbing? Please share your tips and stories in the comments section below.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

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I always just stand there with a “deer in the headlights” look on my face and do not participate in the conversation, it is hard to carry on a conversation with someone who is not reciprocating. So they usually just shut up. Or if I cannot use that method I will often say “I am sorry I am just not comfortable with the conversation” and excuse myself.


Sounds like great advice. The temptation is always there to vent about a problematic coworker to a listening ear…but may not be the best thing to do.