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Coworker Sabotage: Nearly One-Third of Execs Say Colleagues Have Tried to Make Them Look Bad

MENLO PARK, Calif., Aug. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Do you suspect someone at work is trying to sink your career? You're not alone, new research from staffing firm The Creative Group suggests. Nearly one-third (31 percent) of advertising and marketing executives interviewed said a colleague has tried to make them look bad on the job. But it seems fewer professionals are engaging in this type of ill behavior: This figure is down from 50 percent in a similar study conducted in 2008.

Nearly one-third of executives say colleagues have tried to make them look bad

When executives were asked how best to deal with a sabotaging coworker, 41 percent said to confront the person directly; 70 percent of respondents felt the same way in 2008. Another 40 percent of executives believe notifying the individual's manager or human resources is the ideal solution, up from 10 percent seven years ago.

View an infographic of the survey findings.

"Some professionals are so competitive that they'll do just about anything to get ahead," said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. "Being able to handle challenging or difficult coworkers -- and maintaining healthy working relationships -- is crucial for career success, particularly in environments that require a great deal of collaboration."

Advertising and marketing executives were asked, "In the course of your career, has a current or former colleague ever tried to make you look bad on the job?" Their responses:










Don't know/no answer






Executives were also asked, "In general, which one of the following do you think is the best action to take when a colleague tries to make you look bad on the job?" Their responses:




Confront the person directly



Notify the person's manager or human resources



Alert your colleagues to the situation



Do nothing



Other/don't know






The Creative Group identifies three types of sabotaging coworkers and strategies for dealing with them:

  1. Credit Thieves boldly steal others' ideas and grab the glory when initiatives succeed. To help combat this, keep a written record of your activities and accomplishments, and give your manager frequent project status updates.
  2. Belittlers routinely tear others down -- via put-downs and demeaning remarks -- to build themselves up. Because these individuals will often back off if you stand up for yourself, try refuting their criticism, using facts where possible.
  3. Sly Sharks have a knack for leaving colleagues in the lurch. Their tactics aren't always overt, so you may not realize you're working with one until a critical deadline arrives. That's when you discover you're unable to complete your part of a project because the sabotaging coworker has withheld important information. To prevent this situation, make sure roles and responsibilities on your team are defined clearly, and insist on regular check-in meetings so Sly Sharks can't take advantage of lapses in oversight.

About the Research
The surveys were developed by The Creative Group and conducted by an independent research firm. They include responses from more than 400 U.S. advertising and marketing executives in 2015 and 250 U.S. advertising and marketing executives in 2008.

About The Creative Group
The Creative Group (TCG) specializes in placing a range of highly skilled interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals with a variety of firms on a project, contract-to-hire and full-time basis. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and TCG's blog, can be found at

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SOURCE The Creative Group

For further information: Alison Strickland, (650) 234-6277,