Smart strategies for working with schemers

Posted by on Aug 3, 2017

barriers to change

Does your workplace include a scheming type who seems to play games with people?

They’re difficult to work with, but not impossible.

The key is to understand what’s happening – and to be ready with a few smart strategies.

1. Many schemers get their way through subtle bribes. They put on a friendly air and vaguely promise to help at some point down the road – in exchange for an immediate favor. Their favorite phrase is “I owe you one.” But they rarely deliver on their promises. When they approach you to make a deal, take a pass.

2. When a game-player turns on you, the best response is a cool head and plenty of unassailable facts. For instance, if a scheming colleague is going behind your back to spread rumors that your project is way over budget, come to the next meeting with the latest figures proving otherwise. Don’t be confrontational – just present the facts, take questions, and let reality clear up any misunderstandings.

3. If the person is more aggressive, actively trying to sabotage your work, find a chance to engage him or her in civil conversation about it when colleagues are around – preferably in a meeting. Explain what you’re seeing and how you interpret it, and ask whether your concerns are justified. Be specific and detailed, but also be concise. End by asking your colleague for their take on things. What you want is to create a public awareness of what’s happening.

4. Don’t forget that scheming types are human beings too. To improve the chemistry of this person’s relationship with you, look for any impromptu opportunity to talk with them about anything that’s unrelated to work. Let’s say the person loves football and you both saw the championship game – then start a conversation about that. Or you see a child’s artwork taped to his office wall – ask about it. You won’t rewrite history or change the person’s neural wiring, but a few sincere comments will likely warm up the situation.


By Tom TerezContact