Signs of Gaslighting at Work
Gaslighting colleagues, managers, supervisors, or other employees:
- Take credit for your hard work
- Embarass you in front of co-workers
- Know your weaknesses and exploit them
- Try their level best to get you fired or demote you
- Give you insults disguised in compliments
- Blames everything on you
- Lies to go ahead
- Spreads rumours about you and then refuse to accept
- Spoil your work
- Compete with everyone to be the best at work
- Is jealous of your achievements
- Compels you to do something unethical
- Provides you wrong information about important meetings
- Gets angry when things don’t go their way
- Bullies and threatens you
- Sexually harasses you
Gaslighting Tactics at Workplaces
1. Harassment At Workplace
Another commonly used gaslighting tactic that a gaslighter makes use of is sexual harassment.
This is typical to workplace where men and women in power harass the weaker ones to gain control.
Gaslighters count on the idea that they can compel you to be silent. They harass you to remain silent so that others do not come to know about their bad behavior at the workplace.
One of the common ways to harass include sexual harassment. Sexual Harassment involves
- Demand for sexual favors,
- Uninvited sexual advances, and
- Other physical or verbal harassment sexual in nature.
Thus, you are a target of sexual harassment if you have experienced any of the following at workplace:
- Getting a job, a big project, or promotion depending on sexual favors.
- People in higher positions asking you out.
- You are continuously watched aggressively without any reason.
- People posting images of sexual nature on your locker, personal belongings, etc.
- Your coworkers playing pranks on you, etc.
Accordingly, harassment gives power to gaslighters. This is because they get immense pleasure in knowing that your job is in danger if you do not accept their misbehavior.
Typically, gaslighters make all the attempts to distance your from your family, friends, and coworkers.
At workplace, gaslighters would watch you intensely for no reason relative to the other coworkers.
Also, he or she may try to be around you too close especially when there are less people around.
Further, gaslighters watch you in such a way that you feel uneasy. Additionally, they may also try to isolate you from your coworkers. They do this so that they can take advantage.
3. Ganging Up With Other Gaslighters
There may be times when some gaslighters may come together and gang up against you. In this, people who are not gaslighters also may come together to go against you.
This is called ‘Crowd Psychology’. Typically, people have higher odds of engaging in the behavior when others are doing so. This happens even if such a behavior is in contrast to their values and beliefs.
Group behavior is always dangerous. It may make you feel a little less responsible for your behavior.
4. Giving Bad Performance Review
Gaslighting bosses adopt this tactic to gain control over you. They may give you poor rating on your performance even if your work says the opposite.
Following are the examples of gaslighting at work.
1.Taking Credit For Work
Matt and Scott were assigned a pro bono (free legal services) project. Scott tried to escape from doing the work since the rewards attached with the project were nil.
However, Matt carried out the entire work. He conducted meetings, collected data, and found evidence to take the case for trial.
Unfortunately, Scott took the credit for everything. Although he did not contribute anything towards the project.
Not only this, he told the manager that Matt was a slacker. And that he needs to make up for his incompetence.
2. Insults Disguised in Compliments
Sarah congratulated Lucy saying “Congratulations Lucy for completing a project in 3 months that an intern could have done within a month.”
3. Embarrassing You In Front Of Co Workers
Jessica yelled at Norma for taking too long to work on a financial document. She embarrassed Norma in front of the entire team. Jessica told Norma, “It was my biggest mistake to hire you at first place.”
4. Blames You For Everything
Tom and Mike had to together work on a Currency Hedging document and then prepare a report.
Furthermore, both Tom and Mike had to come up with a strategy to help an exporter client save money on foreign currency.
Now, Tom had to analyse the current currency data. Whereas Mike had to devise a strategy based on the collected data.
However, Tom gave a wrong analysis and as a result Mike came up with a wrong strategy for the client.
Then, Tom blamed Mike for everything instead of accepting his fault. This happened when the client intimated their boss about wrong analysis. Thus, Tom told the manager, “Mike has a lesser experience in the field. He’s has been committing mistakes in the past and is used to it. He’s done it all wrong. It was his fault to present the wrong analysis not mine.”
5. Exploits Your Weaknesses
It has been six months that Louis has joined the firm. Since he is new to the corporate world, he remains quite fearful and pressurized for things like meeting deadlines, attending client meetings, etc.
Harry, an experienced manager, was assigned a project that he had to deliver the very next morning. Harry knew about Louis’s weakness of getting scared about even the pettiest of issues. Since he had his personal engagements, he passed on his work to Louis.
Thus, Harry told Louis “ This project needs to be delivered tonight. If you are unable to meet the deadline, I’ll make sure you are fired.”
So, Harry threatened Louis and took advantage of his fearful state.
- Tries to Demote or Fire You
Anna was the financial advisor of her team. She had been awarded employee of the quarter award twice in a row this year. Sara, her junior, was too competitive and jealous of Anna’s achievements.
Currently, Anna’s team was assigned a project of a fortune 500 client. The client was important to the firm as it gave huge paychecks.
Sara had to prepare financial documents and audit them for accuracy and correct applicability of rules. Thus, after collating the document, Sara had to deliver it to Anna. Anna had to analyse the document and prepare a report.
However, Sara fudged the numbers as she wanted to get Anna demoted or fired. As a result, Anna prepared a report based on the fudged numbers and her job came into question.
- Lies to Go Ahead
Matt had recently joined the firm. He was assigned the work of analysing stock portfolio documents and hence preparing a report.
Since Matt was new to the job, it was quite challenging for him to work on the report. However, he didn’t want to bring it up to his manager as he thought this would showcase his weakness.
So, he asked an experienced colleague to do it for him instead of working on the report himself.
When Matt’s manager called him up to appreciate his work, Matt said, “It was quite challenging for me to work on a report like this. However, I didn’t leave any stone unturned to work on it and had to pull out all nighters to prepare the same.”
- Competes With Everyone
Tom was a financial advisor advising exporters and importers against the currency risk. He was quite experienced and was known for his outstanding performance.
Besides, he was awarded with lucrative incentives and awards for his performance innumerable times.
But, Tom could not tolerate people who were way better than him in terms of knowledge and performance. This meant that he wanted to be the best at work.
So each time a colleague challenged the bar set by him, Tom would adopt unethical means to achieve numbers for his firm. He tried to beat his colleagues in terms of performance.
Besides this, he even bribed his colleague’s clients to take services from him in place of them. He did all of this to showcase that he was the best.
- Spreading Gossip About You
Sara and Lena were colleagues working in the same team. Lena was quite dedicated towards her work and was an outstanding performer.
The current quarter’s score card revealed that Lena did quite better than Sara. Sara could not come to terms with this and was jealous of Lena’s achievements.
Furthermore, Lena was often seen with the supervisor, Mike, discussing about the projects and new policies and procedures. Sara saw this too. Since Sara could not resist Lena’s achievements, she decided to spread fake rumours about Lena and her supervisor’s relationship.
Lena confronted Sara and questioned her for spreading such rumours when she came to know about this.
In return, Sara replied “I’m not the one who is spreading this gossip about your relationship with Mike. You cannot blame me for your misunderstandings.”
- Pressurizes You To Do Something Unethical
Sophia was James’s Personal Secretary. James is a legal advisor. He worked on a case that was already closed 5 years back.
However, a rival legal attorney, Benjamin, has now filed a case against James for the ame case. Benjamin claims that James had concealed a document that could have helped the opposite party win the case.
Thus, James’ license was now at stake. So, he asked Sophia to find the document in question and shred it away. Shredding a document is illegal and Sophia had no choice but to do the same. This was because James threatened Sophia to do so. by James at first place.
Thus, James even adopted unethical means in order to save himself from jeopardizing his career.
- Harasses You Sexually
Lucas was the managing partner of his financial advisory firm. And Emilia was a junior associate and an outstanding performer.
One day, Lucas assigned Emilia a document to work on. She was asked to deliver by the end of the day.
Emilia had to work after hours since there were certain challenges in completing the document. Lucas was aware of this. So he went to Emilia’s cabin and asked if he could help.
When Emilia refused to take his help, Lucas came close and tried to abuse her sexually. Emilia threatened Lucas saying that she would report this issue to the grievance redressal department.
However, Lucas took advantage of his seniority and told Emilia “ If you report the issue, I will make sure that you get fired from the job.”